The Dallas Cowboys will host Michael Sam at Valley Ranch on Wednesday, according to sources. The defensive end will take a physical, and the Cowboys expect to sign him to the practice squad if all goes well during his visit.
Sam became the first openly gay NFL player to be drafted when the St. Louis Rams selected him in the seventh round. He had three sacks and 11 tackles in the preseason, but the Rams cut Sam on Saturday. Their 10-player practice squad did not include Sam.
The Cowboys, who had 35 sacks last season, have been in desperate need of pass-rushers after losing defensive tackle Jason Hatcher and defensive end DeMarcus Ware in the offseason. Defensive end Anthony Spencer still is a “couple” of weeks away from a return from microfracture knee surgery. Rookie defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence went on short-term injured reserve Tuesday, making him ineligible to practice for six weeks and forcing him to sit out the first eight games.
Dallas did make the signing of former Oakland Raiders defensive end Jack Crawford official Tuesday after trading for Lavar Edwards on Sunday. But neither is a proven pass-rusher, which would give Sam a chance to play his way onto the 53-player roster.
The Cowboys’ six defensive ends have a combined 62.5 career sacks, with three having none. Spencer has 32.5, Jeremy Mincey 20 and George Selvie 10.
Sam, who is 6-foot-2, 255 pounds, had 11.5 sacks and 19 tackles for loss last season at Missouri in winning the SEC’s defensive player of the year award. He had 32.5 career sacks at Missouri.
The Cowboys filled out their practice squad Tuesday by signing offensive tackle John Wetzel and defensive back Jemea Thomas. They would have to release one of the 10 players on the practice squad before signing Sam.
Practice squad players will make $6,300 per week this season, including the bye week.