IRVING, Texas — Rolando McClain is returning for a third in season in Dallas, where the middle linebacker revived his career after quickly flaming out as a high draft pick in Oakland.
The agency that represents McClain, Sports Trust Advisors, said in a tweet that the 26-year-old agreed to a contract Wednesday, the first day of free agency. The deal is for one year at $5 million, according to a person with knowledge of the contract who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity because terms weren’t released.
The eighth overall pick by the Raiders in 2010, McClain was dumped after three disappointing seasons and spent a year away from football before the Cowboys traded for him out of desperation when Sean Lee went down with a season-ending knee injury in the first offseason workout of 2014.
The Cowboys are expected to re-sign Rolando McClain to a one-year contract to remain in Dallas. https://t.co/H6if49ga66
— Dallas Cowboys (@dallascowboys) March 9, 2016
Oakland released McClain after the 2012 season, and he ended up in Baltimore but never played for the Ravens. He retired once, and walked away from the game again in April 2014 shortly after deciding to return.
Three months later, with Lee out for the year because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, Baltimore sent McClain to Dallas in a trade also involving late-round draft picks just before training camp.
Despite lingering questions about his desire to play because he frequently sat out of practices, McClain ended up second on the team in tackles with a career-high 108 in 2014.
McClain missed the first four games last season for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. He finished with 97 tackles, third behind Lee, who went to his first Pro Bowl, and safety Barry Church. McClain was out another game with a concussion.
While he was out of football in 2013, McClain was arrested for a third time since 2011 in his hometown of Decatur, Alabama, on charges of disorderly conduct and resisting arrest. He was convicted by a judge a year later in a trial held just as training camp with the Cowboys was starting, but the case was dismissed during appeal.
Now that the Cowboys have secured McClain, they are likely to look for pass-rushing help in free agency for a defense that needs impact players after Dallas finished last in the NFL in takeaways (11) and turnover margin (minus-22) in 2015.
Troubled defensive end Greg Hardy is unlikely to return after a tumultuous season in Dallas related to his domestic violence case in North Carolina. Second-year end Randy Gregory will miss the first four games on a substance-abuse suspension.
BY SCHUYLER DIXON