A six-year member of the Dallas Cowboys’ secondary, Barry Church has led the team in tackles the last three seasons. His 117 tackles in 15 games this season set him up for a big contract year in 2016.
It will be an interesting contract year for the safety at that, seeing as fans have been calling for a complete revamp of the position. 2015 first round pick Byron Jones appears to have found his home at the free position, leaving Church to man the strong position and do so with plenty of success.
One name in particular that has been thrown around is the safety out of Florida State, Jalen Ramsey, who will be an option for the Cowboys in the upcoming draft at the fourth overall pick.
While a safety combo of Jones and Ramsey provides an instant boost to the playmaking ability out of this secondary, sticking with a combination of Jones and Church, Heath and Wilcox provides stability for the Cowboys while allowing them to address other more pressing positional needs this offseason.
That said, let’s take a look at what Church must do to earn more time in Dallas past 2016.
Barry Church provides what the Cowboys have desperately needed on this defense for the years he has been here – and this is a consistent tackler as the last line of defense from the strong safety position. This Cowboys defensive scheme is best suited when the offense can put up points quickly and give them a lead to play with.
When playing with the lead, Church can drop into his comofrtable deep safety spot and still come up to prevent huge plays from happening with tackles in the box. It’s when trailing that Rod Marinelli must move Church closer to the line, where he is less comfortable.
Assuming J.J. Wilcox will see the field minimally in his upcoming 2016 contract year, a primary safety rotation of Byron Jones with Church and Heath splitting time next to him is a prettty solid plan for Dallas.
Jones in his second year should develop even more of a playmaking ability, and will be playing with the likes of Orlando Scandrick back from injury in front of him. Church on the other side is a trustable option to prevent big plays given up from the likes of Brandon Carr and potentially Morris Claiborne from becoming disastorous, game-altering plays.
Assuming Church stays healthy and the Cowboys can agree on a fair price, we should expect to see Barry back in the silver and blue after 2016.
As mentioned, J.J. Wilcox will be playing in a contract year as well in 2016 – and I’ll be taking a look at him as well as other members of the defense coming up right here at InsideTheStar.com.
For now, let me know what you think about the safety position for the Cowboys and the futuer of Barry Church by sending a tweet to @ShoreSportsNJ or leaving a comment below!