The mass exodus of Cowboys defensive backs through free agency is now complete, and while the current defensive back depth chart looks thinner, it is no-less capable of playing winning football.
So while the internet burned on Thursday afternoon as Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne both signed with new, AFC teams, I can almost guarantee you that no one involved in the running of the Cowboys broke a sweat.
Don’t get me wrong. Brandon Carr, Barry Church, JJ Wilcox, and Morris Claiborne have each been solid contributors to the Cowboys for a while now. Carr and Church the steady leaders, Wilcox and Claiborne the late bloomers, all four made key plays in 2016 en route to the 13-3 record.
And yet, it was still not enough.
As Aaron Rodgers shredded the Cowboys for 34 points and an early playoff exit, every one knew what time it was in Dallas. It was, and now is, time to make drastic changes on the defensive side of the ball.
And now, months later, the re-construction of the defensive roster is in progress. Like the old adage, the Cowboys are out with the old, and in with new. Out with the JAGs, and in with star-caliber defensive backs (we hope). Out with the overpaid or the injury plagued, and in with the youth and rookie contracts.
So, you can miss me with the “sky is falling” takes after the events of these past two weeks.
cowboys found a starting outside corner in rd. 6 last year. https://t.co/gPxHydwyX3
Of course, the Cowboys must now replace the departed players, primarily through the draft. This should not scare you, however, it should excite you.
Last year, the Cowboys found their number one cornerback in round six. Anthony Brown, the sixth round pick out of Purdue, has turned into a solid outside corner, and someone who should continue to develop through the years.
Brown started nine games last season, most of which came when the newly-signed New York Jet Morris Claiborne missed time due to injury.
This year, it won’t take until the sixth round for a starting cornerback to be found. The 2017 NFL Draft is filled with quality corners, including guys like UCLA’s Fabian Moreau and Florida’s Teez Tabor, both of which would make the perfect outside cornerback in Dallas.
Since Will McClay took over the draft in 2014, the Cowboys have found two quality starting defensive backs in Anthony Brown and Byron Jones.
In 2017, they will find the third.
Sure, it sucks to see players who have been solid contributors for a few years leave your football team. Church, Carr, Claiborne, and even Wilcox will all be missed. But this is how the NFL works. The veterans play themselves out of their team’s price range, and both sides move on.
Usually, the team who brings in the younger, fresher talent continues to win, while the older free agents tend to bust in their new situations. Of course, I don’t wish that upon any of the departing Cowboys, but I certainly hope us fans can realize that the Cowboys are playing this the right way.
Remain patient, financially responsible, and draft well. That is the winning formula.
It’s worked for the offense, now it’s time to reload on defense.