The Cowboys’ DE Robert Quinn Wins Big Despite Dallas Loss

The Dallas Cowboys are in the driver’s seat in the NFC East. During a season in which they’ve had a lot of players step up with great performances, one of those successes is defensive end Robert Quinn. His year has been so good, Quinn was able to win big in a recent game despite the team losing. How exactly did he do it?

Robert Quinn’s career 

After playing for the University of North Carolina, the St. Louis Rams chose Quinn with the 14th overall pick of the 2011 NFL Draft. He spent seven seasons with the Rams and one with the Miami Dolphins before joining the Cowboys this offseason. Here’s what he’s achieved in his NFL career so far: 

  • 119 games played
  • 77.5 sacks
  • 214 solo tackles 
  • 275 combined tackles
  • 23 forced fumbles
  • Two-time Pro Bowl selection
  • One-time All-Pro selection

Quinn’s season-high total for sacks is 19, a number he achieved in 2013 with the Rams. Notably, he got double-digit sack totals every year from 2012 through 2014.

Pro Football Reference compiles “similarity scores” to give a player’s career context, comparing them to players with similar results. Here are some pass rushers who Quinn scores favorably against: 

  • Elvis Dumervil
  • Olivier Vernon
  • Cameron Heyward
  • Robaire Smith
  • Daryl Gardener
  • Jeff Cross
  • Tony Brackens
  • Pierce Holt
  • Don Floyd
  • Ty Warren

Quinn’s 2019 season so far

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The Cowboys traded a 2020 sixth-round pick to the Miami Dolphins for Quinn in March 2019. The 29-year-old is having a fine 2019 season for a solid Cowboys’ defense. Here’s what he’s accomplished so far:

  • Eight games played
  • 8.5 sacks
  • Three passes defended
  • 19 combined tackles 
  • 14 solo tackles 
  • 15 quarterback hits 

According to the Dallas Morning News, no one on the Cowboys’ defensive front can compare to Quinn’s effectiveness: “While Quinn may not lead the team in total pressures, when broken down into a per-play basis, Quinn has been, by a healthy margin, Dallas’ most productive pass-rusher.”

The defensive end leads the Cowboys in pass rush productivity with a 9.2 rating. “Quinn also ranks second among edge defenders in ESPN’s Pass-Rush Win Rate metric — which measures the rate at which a pass rusher beats his blocker within 2.5 seconds,” according to Dallas Morning News. He’s done all this while being doubled-teamed at one of the higher rates in the NFL.

How Robert Quinn won big

The Dallas Cowboys lost to the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday Night Football a few weeks ago. Not everyone on the Cowboys had a bad night, however. Dak Prescott looked in control in the passing game.

On the defensive side of the ball, Quinn got a sack that was good for more than just a loss of yardage. It actually netted him quite a profit

“Quinn triggered an $878,789 bonus when he collected his seventh sack of the season Sunday night, per Jeremy Bergman at It came in the second quarter on a third-and-5 when he took down Minnesota Vikings quarterback Kirk Cousins for a nine-yard loss, pinning the Vikings back on their own 25. The Cowboys trailed 14-0 at the time and went on to lose 28-24.”

The most impressive part of Quinn’s bonus? He received it only seven games into the season. Compare this to his 2018 season, when he had 6.5 sacks the entire year. Quinn eclipsed that total after less than half the 2019 season. 

The athlete’s bonus means the Cowboys will have to pay him more, but if he keeps getting to the quarterback at this rate, he’ll be well worth it. The real question is how much the Cowboys and Jerry Jones are willing to pay to keep him: Quinn will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason. His results should earn him a big deal.