The Dallas Cowboys need a true centerfield free safety for Dan Quinn's defensive scheme. Free Safety Marcus Williams is a young, proven veteran free agent looking for a job. Could this be a match made in heaven?
The Dallas Cowboys top priority this offseason is to upgrade their defense. You'll hear all of the rhetoric about how cash-strapped they are and they can't afford to dabble too much in free agency, but don't believe it for a second. They can create more salary-cap space to sign just about anybody they want to do so.
With that in mind, I believe former New Orleans Saints FS Marcus Williams should be one of their top targets in free agency. He fits the criteria Dan Quinn wants in a single-high safety for his heavy Cover 1-3 scheme and he's just 24 years old with proven production (13 career interceptions).
The only problem with this line of thinking is the fact the Cowboys haven't valued the safety position in nearly two decades. That way of thinking though needs to change because it is without a doubt a valued position regardless of what Jerry or Stephen Jones believes.
I completely agree with what an NFL Defensive Coordinator just told me:
“In today's NFL, free safety is the position that ALL coaches on both sides of the ball understand how critical is to have… yet too many GMs don't… until they don't have one.” 🤝
— Erik Burkhardt (@ErikBurkhardt) February 27, 2021
In order to upgrade the defense, the Jones' need to listen to Dan Quinn and heed his advice. I could be completely wrong, but I wouldn't be at all surprised if finding a free safety for his scheme is at the top of his to do list and more likely than not adding a young, proven veteran is probably preferable over a rookie.
The Dallas Cowboys are already going to have quite a bit of youth starting in their secondary in 2021. Trevon Diggs and Donovan Wilson just have one year of starting experience and both are still getting up to speed of the NFL game. Adding another rookie to either position would create even more inexperience.
Enter Marcus Williams.
Marcus Williams has four years of experience and the production to prove it. Not only would he stabilize the backend of the Cowboys defense, but he would also help these young players understand what's going on and get them lined up accordingly. That alone could prove invaluable.
Young, proven safeties don't come cheaply though. According to Spotrac.com, Marcus Williams' market value is around $13.5 million per season on a 5-year, $67 million contract. That's definitely a lot of money for a position the Cowboys have devalued, but justifiable considering the youth they are likely to deploy and the need to upgrade the defense this season.
Odds are this is nothing but a pipe dream. The Dallas Cowboys have proven time and time again they simply don't value the safety position. But, if their way of thinking where to change this is arguably the best time to do so with the amount of youth they will likely have in their secondary this year.
I don't know where you stand, but I'd much rather pair Donovan Wilson with Marcus Williams than any other safety in the 2021 draft class. At least with him you know what you're getting and that's why I believe he should be Dallas' No. 1 target in free agency.