Making the transition from college to the NFL is a difficult one that is made all the more difficult if you play on the defensive side of the football. It’s even more challenging if you play cornerback. The talent at the wide receiver in the league is absolutely ridiculous. Every week, cornerbacks are matched up against guys who are 1,000-yard receivers and dangerous players even if they don’t hit that 1,000 milestone on an annual basis.
That’s why many, including myself, have clamored at the idea of adding a legit veteran option at the position to play this year while the Dallas Cowboys rookie cornerbacks make the transition into the league.
While it was expected that Kelvin Joseph would be the guy to start opposite of Trevon Diggs, he had limited practice time in OTAs, and minicamp and third-round pick Nahshon Wright emerged as a potential option to start on the outside. Still, either player lining up in week one against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to cover Mike Evans should keep Dan Quinn up at night. And so should Anthony Brown lining up on the outside as well.
It would be great to see the Dallas Cowboys sign a Richard Sherman to come in and provide stability on the outside while allowing the rookies to work their way in. The Cowboys could also try to pry Stephon Gilmore away from the clutches of Bill Belichick.
He’s not a supervillain, but it helps to imagine him as such.
The reality is the Dallas Cowboys aren’t going to do either of those things. And it’s time to come to terms with that.
Over the last decade, the Cowboys have shown that they aren’t fans of bringing in outside free agents over the age of 30 unless they’re of the special teams’ variety. Though Richard Sherman still has some good football left, his age takes him out of the Dallas Cowboys’ free agent demographic.
Gilmore isn’t happening because the Cowboys would have to do two things; send a draft pick to the Patriots, and then they’d have to pay Gilmore, who is in the last year of his deal and seeking a long-term contract. We know that the Dallas Cowboys covet draft picks and are reluctant to pay players who have aged like Sherman.
The Cowboys’ defense will likely improve in 2021 with the addition of Dan Quinn and the defensive talent they added in free agency and the draft. However, cornerback remains an area where the team should be concerned, but they won’t do anything about it.
Anthony Brown has taken on a leadership role in the Cowboys’ secondary room this year, but we’ve seen a roller coaster of play from him over the last five years. He doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence. Rookies Kelvin Joseph and Nahshon Wright may be good to great NFL players, but there will be some growing pains in their rookie campaigns that the team will have to live with.
As much sense as it might make for the Cowboys to bring in Sherman or trade for Gilmore, given the need at cornerback, knowing their history and what they value, it’s easy to see that it’s a pipedream.
And I’ve dreamed that dream. But as the offseason progresses into training camp, I’ve awakened to the reality that this team will ride Anthony Brown, Kelvin Joseph, and Nahshon Wright at cornerback opposite of Trevon Diggs in 2021. It could work out just fine, or it could provide bumps on the road to contention that the Cowboys hope to be traveling down in 2021.