One of the quieter 2020 offseason moves for the Dallas Cowboys was re-signing Cornerback Anthony Brown to a 3-year contract. Right now everyone’s focused on younger prospects, draft picks, and new free agents. But Brown is very valuable this year; his return provides Dallas with a reliable, stable asset during a time of transition.
Brown is one of the surviving members of the 2016 draft class. He’s not a big name like Ezekiel Elliott, Jaylon Smith, or Dak Prescott, but at this point he’s managed to stick around in Dallas longer than Maliek Collins, Kavon Frazier, and others (sorry Rico Gathers truthers).
The Cowboys’ trust in Anthony has been established since his rookie season. Injuries forced the 6th-round pick to start nine games and play a big role on defense right away. He was surprisingly solid for a player taken so late in the draft.
Brown has built on that rookie season by remaining one of the Cowboys’ top three cornerbacks for most of his career. He dropped to fourth on the depth chart last year in favor of Jourdan Lewis, but that was more about trying to see Lewis’ upside than a knock on Anthony.
Nobody is suggesting that Anthony Brown still has some unlocked potential. He probably is who he is at this point, but that’s not a bad thing.
“Solid” has been the key term for Brown over these first four seasons and is why he was re-signed in 2020. The term of that new deal, $15.5 million over three seasons, make him a virtual lock for this year’s roster and likely 2021 as well.
Given the rest of the cornerback position right now, Dallas needs Brown’s stable presence more than ever.
Bryon Jones is now a Dolphin while Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis are on expiring contracts. Dallas just drafted Trevon Diggs and Reggie Robinson in 2020 while signing free agents Maurice Canady and Daryl Worley. It’s a time of major transition.
We don’t know yet how changes in the coaching staff and the expiring contracts are going to affect Awuzie and Lewis’ statuses with the Cowboys. We’ve already heard talk of Chido moving to safety and Lewis’ name often comes up in trade speculation. Will they even still be Dallas cornerbacks by September?
I doubt the Cowboys are going to hand the starting CB jobs to Diggs and Robinson now but that is probably their goal within the next 2-3 years. They are likely going to allow Awuzie and Lewis to play things out and leave as free agents in 2021, which could benefit Dallas in the way of compensatory draft picks.
Also uncertain right now is if Worley, a fifth-year veteran himself, is here to play corner or safety. But it’s worth noting that Daryl was drafted at cornerback in the 3rd Round of that same 2016 Draft, 112 picks before Dallas selected Anthony Brown.
You can clearly see the tumult right now around the CB position. Two players in Awuzie and Lewis who haven’t lived up to expectations, two rookies, and a few other veterans new to the Cowboys roster; Anthony Brown provides much-needed reliability in all of this unknown.
Sure, given all of these other players to sort out and evaluate in 2020, Anthony might not be more than the 4th or even 5th corner on the depth chart this year. But as has happened more than once throughout his four years in Dallas, Brown’s been a guy we’re glad to have when called upon.
Thanks to his new contract, Anthony Brown will continue to provide that solid depth to the Cowboys’ cornerback position for at least this season and perhaps more to follow.