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Why FS Marcus Williams Should be Dallas’ No. 1 Free Agent Target

Dallas Cowboys should make Marcus Williams a top priority in free agency.

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.

https://twitter.com/ErikBurkhardt/status/1365701627160784907

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.

What do you think?

Brian Martin

Written by Brian Martin

Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

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  1. Hey, Brian. Good article but I just want to know WHY the Jones’s don’t value that position. I’ve seen that statement over the years and just shake my head. It is mind boggling and I just don’t get it. It’s obvious they don’t value it but why? We’ve all watched so many talented safeties on the board get passed over time and time again only to have fantastic and productive careers elsewhere. And, that’s exactly what this team needs. Productive players.

    • Honestly, I have no idea why they’ve devalued the safety position. It’s kind of happened all over the league though. I think there’s a good chance the Cowboys change their way this year. It’s definitely a position of “need”.

  2. Its a good/fair question Stephen and I’ve not got any answers either, but I might suggest it could be some combination of any or all of the following:

    Despite the fact they saw what a combination of Darren Woodson, Thomas Everett, and James Washington could do, they must feel that the position itself is made more impactful by the surrounding talent at CB and DE. There’s some validity to that line of thinking but the TE’s are more prominent in today’s game and therefore the position’s value has increased IMO.

    When they have spent a Rd-1 or Rd-2 pick on a safety (Roy Williams, Tony Dixon) they’ve never seen that player turn the tide in the Win-Loss column.

    They’ve witnessed that they’ve gotten reasonably good contributions from “cheaper” avenues; Brock Marion (Rd-7), Everett and Washington (free-agency), Xavier Woods (Rd-6), Donovan Wilson (Rd-6).

    They’ve also been burned by bad early picks at the position: Charlie Williams (Rd-3), Tony Dixon (Rd-2), Awusu-Ansah (Rd-4), JJ Wilcox (Rd-3).

    Lastly, without doing any research, my guess is that other than special teams, Safety may very well be, on average, the lowest paid position in the league? If true, they may not want to put themselves in a bind?

    A draft like the one coming, where they have 10 picks seems like a good opportunity to re-try your luck with an early pick at Safety.

  3. My dark horse acquisition is Malik Hooker. His age, skill set, and (presumably) low cost make the injury risk a great gamble.

    • I wouldn’t mind the Cowboys taking a chance on Hooker. It’s a pretty big gamble considering his injury history, but it’s definitely one of those risk/reward type of situations they’ve been known to take in the past.

  4. Williams will probably be out of our price range ,

    I would go Hooker , and then draft Hufanga to go behind him in case Hooker would get hurt again

  5. The reason they do not value the safety position is the same reason we have not been to the super bowl in 25 years the Jones boys are smart in business but prideful. They do not let the coaches coach. They fell they know better than anyone else even if it is a proven need . They do not take enough consideration for the smarts of the coaches they hire.

  6. The reason as I’ve said before as to why they devalue this position is cuz tell me this ,

    Which sells more tickets and merch ? A elite WR or a elite Safety ?

    And that’s your problem , Jerry is looking to make moves as an Owner , that makes him more money ,

    where as a GM your focus should be putting the best product you can out on the field and they aren’t focused on making FLASHY FA signings or SPLASHY draft picks , they’re looking at what can help improve their team , who can help them win games , who can they rely on

    So Jerry as GM devalues Safety cuz as a businessman and owner , his job is to get ppl to buy tickets , buy merch and continuously keep the Boys relevant , but as GM , you got to focus on what best puts your team in position to win games , and Jerry ultimately can’t separate the 2

  7. Riddle me this … in all your years watching football, how many times has a season concluded and you’ve told yourself a team was a Safety away from a Super Bowl?

  8. Throw up…LOL…I always wanted to say that. Hope you don’t mind. I think your answer answer followed by Ghosts’ make the most sense to that dumb as nails mindset of devaluing the position. Wonder which would be more beneficial in merch sales, a flashy receivers’ Jersey sales or all the Super Bowl Champions merchandise sales? I’m going out on the limb for choice #2 and wish Mr. Jones would do the same. This last season was an embarrassment to the players (I hope) and hard to watch as a fan. When they were favored to win, there was not a single game that I had faith that they would. Still watched. Still supported but it was tough.

  9. The author is wrong about the Cowboys not valuing Williams’s position. It’s one of the many perceptions that get formed in the media and then through repetition gets treated as fact, even though the evidence says otherwise. It’s lazy and tired.

    In reality, Dallas made a first round pick (Byron Jones) with the intent for him to play FS, which is where they put him after he got his feet wet as a rookie even though he looked just as capable of playing the very valuable CB position. It made actual major trade offers for Earl Thomas (a true FS) and Jamal Adams (a playmaking SS who was the closest thing one would find to FS value at SS). And Juan Thornhill was seemingly the runner up for Dallas’s top pick in 2019, the one that went to Trysten Hill (also at a need position, DT, which is also a position the media loves to claim Dallas doesn’t value).

    In reality, Dallas values proven quality coverage guys at FS…but the supply of those outstrips demand, and many supposed strong coverage prospects there don’t work out. The team WANTS to find a strong coverage guy at FS, but knows that it’s hard (or otherwise expensive) to do just that. That’s the reason behind the tweet in this article, that claimed that coaches all value FS big time but GMs don’t. Don’t be fooled…never mistaken a difficulty in getting what one wants to mean that one doesn’t actually want that which is hard to get.

  10. The argument that they kicked the tires on Thomas, Adams, and Thornhill but didn’t acquire a single one of them goes against your agenda. They can look at anybody, but they literally made the choice not to spend the capital on it, whether that was a FA contract or a draft pick.

  11. Brian. Nice article. Only thing I doubt is they are not cash strapped. I dont see how they can create cap space, with the Dak problem exploding right now. They really need to define their plan with Dak, so they can move forward with aloting the remaining money to the rest of the Team. Not an easy task.

    • They can easily restructure a few contracts and create plenty of salary-cap space to sign just about anybody they want and still afford to extend Dak Prescott long-term. Restructuring Amari Cooper’s contract alone can create an extra $14 million if I’m not mistaken.

  12. J & S are great at drawing the ire of Cowboys fans. Year in & yr out, they fail to address glaring holes on D. Please tell them to get this guy!

  13. Need to add a starter caliber player on DL and in secondary. If you sign starting DT then draft DBs. If you sign starting caliber DB then draft DTs. Both are available in FA so figure out which gives you best ROI and sign them and pay a bit. Then focus draft on BPA & BPA+need.

  14. Why haven’t you guys @Brian Martin or inside the star talked about possibly getting Suh at DT to bring on our team ?

    I’d think he’d be a good FA to bring in , only downside is age

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