The Dallas Cowboys need safety help. The safety market is plush with options. The opportunity is there for them to upgrade the position in the offseason, but will they choose to dole out the money for one of the top-rated players or choose to shop in the bargain bin?
If we've learned anything about the Dallas Cowboys the past several years than we know all too well they prefer to bargain shop rather than get in a bidding war for a high-priced veteran free agent. Maybe that strategy will change this year, however, I wouldn't bet on it.
With that in mind in regards to potential free agent safety targets we can probably exclude players like Justin Simmons, Marcus Williams, Anthony Harris, and Marcus Maye. All four of these players will likely command more money than the Cowboys are willing to dole out. Sadly, that leaves us looking at some of the more cost-effective options.
Enter Malik Hooker.
Malik Hooker is a former first-round pick (15th overall) by the Indianapolis Colts back in 2017. He was a highly regarded prospect coming out of Ohio State and was largely considered the second-ranked safety in the 2017 NFL Draft behind only Jamal Adams. That was then though and this is now.
Sadly, Malik Hooker has been plagued by a multitude of injuries throughout his four years in the NFL. From a torn ACL and MCL in his right knee in 2017 to a torn Achilles in September 2020, injuries have unfortunately kept him sidelined more often than he's spent on the field. Labeling him as injury prone seems fitting.
Strangely enough, this is the kind of risk/reward type of free agent signing the Dallas Cowboys don't mind gambling on. Malik Hooker is still a young, talented player despite all of his injuries and he without a doubt would fill a need on the backend of their defense. The only real concern here is his lengthy injury history.
Let's forget about the injury concerns for second. Malik Hooker would be a great fit in Dan Quinn's defensive scheme as a deep safety, much like he had in Earl Thomas with the Seattle Seahawks. His range and ball hawking mentality would be a welcomed addition to the backend of the Cowboys defense.
I don't know about you, but I believe the potential reward outweighs any risks involved by the Dallas Cowboys gambling on Malik Hooker. He's young, talented, fills a need, and should be relatively cost-effective considering his injury history. And, his addition wouldn't prevent them from drafting a safety early either if they wanted. Sounds like a win-win to me.