Cowboys braced to lose LB Justin Durant to Atlanta but still working to get deal done

Dallas Cowboys outside linebacker Justin Durant.

Justin Durant was one of the linebackers the Cowboys hoped to retain.

It may not happen.

Cowboys officials were still negotiating with Durant’s representatives Tuesday afternoon, but have braced themselves for the probability that they could lose him to Atlanta.

Three linebackers that started for the Cowboys last season _ Durant, Rolando McClain and Bruce Carter _ all became free agents at 3 p.m. The club has an offer on the table to McClain and had hoped it could bring Durant back. If Durant departs it means means Carter is still in play, although it’s difficult to determine the level on interest on both sides.

The Cowboys signed Durant in free agency in 2013 and he performed at a high level _ when healthy.

That’s been the issue. The linebacker was only available to play in 16 of 32 regular season games due to injury. A serious elbow injury cut the 2014 season short, meaning he didn’t take part in the team’s two playoff games.

Durant was the team’s best defender at the time of the injury. The proof: even though he played in only six games, he finished the season sixth on the team in tackles with 59. Durant had an interception, forced two fumbles and recovered one. He also had four tackles for a loss and knocked down four passes.

Durant started 12 games in his two seasons with the club. (Courtesy of

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