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    Trying to Make Sense of Cowboys Murky Safety Situation

    For the last few weeks I've been doing a position-by-position breakdown of the roster heading into 2020 . I was planning to wrap that up on Saturday with the safeties, but then the Earl Thomas news threw everything into chaos.

    Two days later and the situation is murkier than ever. Not only is Thomas now a and the Cowboys being called a potential suitor, but a surprising shift has happened has happened with players already on Dallas roster.

    Between his former draft status, a past trip, and his relationship with from Green Bay, Clinton-Dix felt like a safe bet to be a starter in 2020. But his fall from 1st-round grace appears to be continuing if Thompson is even close to challenging for the job.

    That's not to say Darian is a scrub. He was a 3rd-round pick by the Giants in 2016 who quickly earned a starting job but then struggled with injuries. He eventually found his way to the Cowboys during the as a reclamation project and appears to be doing just that.

    Of course, neither will probably be a starter if Earl Thomas ends up coming to Dallas. We should see Thomas and atop the at that point.

    But you see why previewing this position right now would be a farce; it could all change by later this afternoon. Thomas now looms over everyone and until he is confirmed to either be with Dallas or one of the 30 other possibilities, forecasting anything about the Cowboys safeties right now is a fool's errand.

    Even assuming that Thomas and Woods would be the starting duo isn't certain. Both are on the small side and Dallas might prefer a bigger player like Darian Thompson (6'2″ and 211 lbs.) to be in the mix for playing close to the line of scrimmage.

    What we do know right now is that things are in definitely in flux, and unfortunately we're left with more questions than answers.

    Does Thompson challenging for a starting role mean he's making step forward in his career, or is it more an indictment of where Clinton-Dix is at this point in a declining career?

    Does Dallas' new scheme under allow for them to play two smaller, free-safety types like Earl Thomas and Xavier Woods together?  Or would Thomas' arrival actually cut into Xavier's playing time?

    Are the Cowboys even that interested in Thomas after the last two years, or has his increased age and personal red flags finally moved him to the edges of their radar?

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    Some of those answers should come within the next day or two. We'll wait for clarity and then see what Dallas actually has at safety when the dust settles.

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    Jess Haynie
    Jess Haynie
    Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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    25 COMMENTS

    25 Comments
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    Jerry

    Donovan Wilson. Not even mentioned. Nice write up.

    GhostProtocol

    I like what I saw of Thompson last year in his limited opportunities. If he out-plays Clinton-Dix in camp, I’m fine with him starting. But we’re still in the same boat … whoever we elect to go with, we need to give them a fair shot to secure a future here. Three of these guys are in contract years and we need to know something about them when this season is over, which is why many of us want to see Wilson get a fair shot. If Thompson gets that shot, I’m good with it. Just commit and go … even if it’s Thomas.

    Fed Up

    Go Get Earl Thats It thats it we need a ball hawk some who can cover the field we havent had a good safety since darren woodson roy williams was ok couldnt cover well signed ken hamlin he couldnt cut it and list goes on we need a all pro safety had a chance to get earl price was to high now this out chance defense wins games corners looking good in camp just sign what we need

    William Espinoza

    Wilson way better

    gary b

    Yea I’m surprised D Wilson wasn’t mentioned either. I was under the impression that he had the best chance of supplanting Woods, and D Thompson is rarely mentioned in that regard. Are u sure u didn’t get ur players mixed up Jess? Haven’t even heard of him as being a camp standout. I mean if that’s the case and the cowboys see him as the best candidate, they know best. Also if the cowboys do sign Thomas, that means the top 3 candidates for safety are all free safeties. Would like to hear how our best pure SS D Wilson is looking in camp.

    gary b

    Wait I just read back thru the article, so D Thompson is a candidate at FS over Dix? I thought he was a strong safety. Now I’m really confused.

    Gary b

    Gotcha thanks Jess!

    Ellis

    Earl is going to complain if they put him at SS. Better off putting X. Woods at SS and Earl at FS. HHCD should be a FS. I’m not a fan of playing guys out of position as much as Dallas has been trying to do for years. Some of these safeties are going to have to be special team standout to clear up the logjam. New coaching staff gives new hope of sensibility. The Garrett regime would definitely screw it up.

    DP Johnson

    Donovan was drafted having played slot and SS so why not give him a look at SS and see if he can handle it instead of pigeon holding him at the position the old staff moved him too. A SS who is a viable free would be an advantage I would think.

    Gary b

    I think D Wilson is looked at more as a SS with ball skills (ideal). If he is paired with D Thompson who seems to have the same skill set, u have two big physical safeties that can man ur back end for the next 2-3 yrs on their rookie contracts. Cowboys might want either Dix or Woods for more experience back there though. But i think Wilson/Thompson should get a fair chance at winning those jobs. I don’t think anyone is that impressed with Dix/Woods.

    GhostProtocol

    I believe Thompson is another 1-yr contract guy. He’s beyond his rookie contract as Dallas acquired him as a veteran. Wilson is the only one of the current crop of safeties who is signed beyond 2020. They can obviously re-sign Thompson to lock him up (if he proves worth it), but not for rookie money.

    Cowboys fan

    Thompson isn’t beyond his rookie contract, he just didn’t really have much of one (I guess you can say) I do to injuries!! He was drafted in 2016 which means his rookie contract would’ve just ended this year!! Which is what I think happened and that’s how he got the new contract with us

    GhostProtocol

    Thanks, is that how it works? We didn’t draft him so I suspected his drafted team cut him, making him a free-agent void of a contract back when we signed him (therefore being free of his rookie contract). At that time wouldn’t we have given him a new contract (which we have now done a 2nd time)?

    Gary b

    We’re both wrong (imagine that) D Thompson is indeed a veteran, but is signed thru 2022. I hope we start one or both of the youngsters… find out what we have as
    u say. Would like to see some new blood back there.

    Gary b

    My bad D Thompson is signed thru 2021 we have him for two more yrs

    Jesse

    The team quietly gave Thompson a 2yr deal this offseason . So obviously they like him and wanted another set of eyes to look at him.

    Ben Miller

    It remains to be seen how Safeties will be used in a Nolan led defense. Under Marinelli/Richard there was little differentiation between the FS and SS. Thomas is the obvious choice for a true in the box SS but his coverage skills are seriously lacking and doesn’t appear to have a nose for the ball that HHCD has displayed.
    As for ET……NO!
    His bad attitude and disrespect for coaches, teammates and the game in general are well documented. Let him disrupt some other team’s locker room.
    His talent and salary are not worth the headaches or the potential bad influence he could have on a young secondary.

    Gary b

    I think Thomas has always been considered more of a FS type (30 career ints.) Which is alot for a safety. But he can certainly lay the wood on a WR (especially for his size). That physicality and ball hawking ability has made him one of the top couple of Safeties in the league the last 10 yrs. If he was the E Thomas from 5 yrs ago maybe consider it but he is past his prime and not worth the the risk/reward IMHO. The ball is in Jerry J court. If he really wants him, he’ll find a way. Hopefully Stephen J is in his ear on this one.

    Roger Ward

    We need Earl Thomas.
    All the safeties on dallas roster are sub par.

    Gary b

    Yep we resigned Thompson to consecutive 2 yr contacts the 2nd starting this yr guess the cowboys patience appears to be paying off, as he is in line to possibly start this season.

    Gary b

    Never too old to learn something new!