Stephen Bowen On Signing With Washington Redskins: “I wanted to stay in Dallas. I did. It was unfortunate it didn’t work out.”July 29, 2011 – 7:00 am by Steven Cuce
From an undrafted free agent out of Hofstra University in 2006 to a multi-millionaire defensive end recently signed to a lucrative free agent deal by the Washington Redskins, Stephen Bowen has certainly worked his way up the pecking order in his NFL career. Bowen had become an essential cast member to a very talented Dallas Cowboys defensive line, which in turn made him a very appealing free agent going into his sixth season. Much of the talk at the start of free agency had the Redskins trying to upgrade their defensive line by aggressively pursuing free agent Cullen Jenkins. But Washington ultimately went in another direction by first signing Barry Cofield from the New York Giants, and then Stephen Bowen from the Dallas Cowboys. The Redskins sure made out like bandits signing two experienced defensive lineman from their NFC East rivals.
Now as far as the contract that Stephen Bowen signed with Washington: The Redskins rewarded Bowen with a five-year deal worth $27.5 million, including $12.5 million of guaranteed money. That’s some pretty good coin for a defensive end who started all of two games prior to the 2010 season. Last season, his duties were confined to third down packages before injuries bumped him into the starting rotation for the final nine games.
Daniel Snyder has never been shy about spending his money on guys he thinks will be difference makers. Just ask Albert Haynesworth. Of course, the results haven’t been favorable for Snyder and the Skins, but clearly past failures haven’t deterred him from continuing to try to improve his team by opening the wallet. Stephen Bowen wanted to stay a Dallas Cowboy, but at the end of the day when Daniel Snyder offers you enough money to set you up for the rest of your life, Bowen understandably found it impossible to refuse.
Stephen Bowen joined ESPN Radio Dallas with Galloway & Company to discuss how surprised he was that the Washington Redskins gave him a 5-year deal worth $27.5 million in free agency, how quickly he heard from the Cowboys after the Redskins contacted him, being hurt by the Cowboys not showing him more attention, his view of Rob Ryan’s new defense for the Dallas Cowboys, and if he’s had time to reflect on going from an undrafted free agent out of Hofstra to a multi-millionaire high-profile free agent signing.
Are you surprised that the Redskins gave you all this money?
“No I wouldn’t say I’m surprised because they were the most active team when free agency hit at 10:00 a.m., they called me at 10:01 a.m. The last couple of days after speaking to Mike Shanahan and defensive coordinator to see how they were using me in the defense and just all talking good things and they were trying to get me to teach the defense to make this a lot better and including what they were going to offer I mean I thought it was a no brainier. I wanted to stay in Dallas. I did. I love my teammates and coaching staff and they have been good to me over the last 5 years, but it was unfortunate it didn’t work out.”
How quickly did you hear from Dallas after you heard from the Redskins first?
“Honestly I didn’t hear from – I heard from my defensive line coach he was talking to me saying he really wanted me. I heard from Jason Garrett the next day, but I didn’t hear from anybody else. It just seemed like the Redskins were really persistent on having my services. I could really be a big difference to their team and they were saying they just got Barry Cofield from the Giants with me to make sure they could solidify their line, so they were trying to make moves in the right direction.”
Did it hurt a little bit when other teams showed more interest than the Dallas Cowboys?
“It stung a little bit. They eventually made an offer and it was just unfortunate it wasn’t competitive with other peoples offers.”
Even though you are heading out you had a chance to look at that Rob Ryan’s playbook and study it. What did you make of it? What do you think Rob Ryan is going to be like with this defense?
“It’s very complex. It’s a lot of different calls. You have a lot of communication within the linebackers and the defensive line that could change within a play. They may have called you and you could be doing something totally different. As for Wade’s [Phillips] defense it was just really straight forward and you knew there wasn’t really too much you could do within a call, but with Rob Ryan you could get one call and it could change into two or three different calls.”
From an undrafted free agent out of Hofstra five years ago to now a multi-millionaire. How does it feel?
“Yeah I mean I talked to my wife and I said can you believe it? We started from happy to be here and on the practice squad working my way up to now just being solidified as a starter and making a ton of money. I think dealing with that and my family and my dad being on my side I definitely couldn’t have done it.”