Yesterday we learned the fates of the Dallas Cowboys free agent cornerbacks Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne. Carr will be suiting up for the Baltimore Ravens next season and Claiborne will be playing for the New York Jets. With their departure, they join Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox as secondary players the Cowboys have lost via free agency. Suddenly things are starting to look a little sparse on the back end of the Cowboys defense, which has become a concern for a lot of fans.
There were many of us fans that believed the Dallas Cowboys would try to retain either Brandon Carr or Morris Claiborne, but it looks as if they were willing to move on and try to rebuild the secondary without them. So, if you’re counting that is a total of four secondary players that started on defense at some point in 2016, without a lot of additions to take over. It’s no wonder Cowboys fans feel a little left in the dark.
I for one am not panicking, because I think I see the bigger picture of what the Cowboys are trying to accomplish this off-season. I mean, how many of you have been wanting the organization to upgrade from Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Barry Church, and J.J. Wilcox these past few seasons? Now that it they are all moving on, everyone starts to freak out.
Trust me on this and take a deep breath. The Cowboys know what they’re doing, so we are just going to have to trust the process and let everything play out. Let me try to break this down a little bit better for you, so that I can hopefully ease your mind.
Cowboys Secondary: Cornerbacks
If you are keeping track, and I’m sure you are, then you have come to the realization that the Dallas Cowboys have only added Nolan Carroll, but lost both Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne in free agency. Things don’t quite add up do they?
Carroll was brought in to more than likely take over for Carr. They are both basically the same size, but I think Carroll is probably better of the two players, although it may be a slight margin of victory. No doubt he will start at one of the outside cornerback spots, the other probably to be played by the second year CB Anthony Brown.
Brown had a fantastic rookie season and his addition to the Cowboys roster last year couldn’t have come at a better time. He ended up starting nine games as a rookie and is now the future for the organization.
That leaves Orlando Scandrick and he will probably move back into the nickel, where he is at his best. Scandrick took some time to get healthy last year, but was playing really well towards the end of the season.
With Carroll, Brown, and Scandrick the Cowboys already have a solid group of starting CBs. But, you can bet they aren’t done addressing the position just yet. I will guarantee you that they will add another talented cornerback in the upcoming draft with one of their first few draft picks. That will solidify the CB position and build the foundation for years to come.
Cowboys Secondary: Safeties
Like the cornerback position, the Dallas Cowboys have lost two of their safeties, Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox. Unfortunately, they haven’t made any new additions, which either means they think they have their starter currently on the roster or they’re still mulling over the free agent options. Of course, they could draft another safety, which isn’t entirely out of the question.
In all honesty, I wouldn’t mind seeing Jeff Heath receive more playing time starting next to Byron Jones on the back end of the Cowboys defense. He seems to always be around the ball making plays and creating turnovers, which is something the defense can certainly use.
There are several free agent options still available that can step in and be a day one starter. Of course, that would involve spending money and I’m not quite sure if anybody they signed would be better than what they currently have or what they could possibly add through the draft.
The 2017 safety draft class is deep and there are quite a few players in the first few rounds that could come in and not only solidify the back end the defense, but be an upgrade over what the Cowboys let walk this off-season. Honestly, I think this is the route that they prefer to go.
As you can see, things aren’t quite as bad as they seem right now. The Dallas Cowboys have a plan in place, we as fans just have to trust the process because unfortunately we really don’t have any other choice.
Personally, I don’t know if they will make any more moves to address the secondary before the 2017 NFL Draft. I think they will probably draft both a cornerback and safety in the first two rounds and move on from there. Fortunately, both the cornerback and safety positions are pretty deep this year, so they should be able to come away with a starter at both positions.