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Why S Adrian Phillips Could be the Perfect fit With the Dallas Cowboys

Adrian Phillips could be the solution to the Dallas Cowboys safety issues.

In exactly a week, March 18, the 2020 new NFL league here begins, meaning teams can start signing free agents. The Dallas Cowboys will be pretty active in free agency, but the majority of their attention will be focused on retaining some of their own. There are a few outsiders I think they should target, one of which could be exactly what they’re looking for to help solidify the safety position.

Enter former Los Angeles Chargers Safety Adrian Phillips.

Adrian Phillips is someone I identified as a potential free agent target for the Dallas Cowboys last year, but unfortunately he re-signed with the Chargers instead. Maybe things will turn out differently this time around though.

I’m a big fan of what Adrian Phillips would bring to the table if he joins the Dallas Cowboys. I know he’s not one of the more well-recognized names from the NFL to play the safety position, but don’t mistake that for the impact he has on the field. He’s very well thought of by both his coaches and teammates alike.

Former teammate Rayshawn Jenkins has called Phillips a “genius”. “AP.’s a genius, like literally,” Jenkins said. “Literarily a genius. He’s a coach on the field. He’s crazy.” The praise doesn’t stop there though.

Head coach Anthony Lynn has referred to Phillips as “the key” cog in making the defense work with his play and leadership. And, Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley has said he’s “one of the (smartest players) … he’s ever coached”.

I don’t know about you, but it definitely sounds as if Adrian Phillips is someone the Dallas Cowboys defense can use and we haven’t even started talking about what he can do on the field.

During his time with the Chargers, Phillips has been a Swiss Army Knife kind of player. He’s played strong safety, free safety, dime linebacker, and nickel linebacker. And, that’s not even mentioning the fact he’s a standout special teams player and was named to the Pro Bowl and earned First-team All-Pro honors as such in 2018 as well.

Let all of that sink in for just a little bit…

The Dallas Cowboys would be getting a versatile safety you can play at FS or SS and be utilized as a LB as well. Oddly enough, they need more depth at at all of those positions. But there’s more…

Adrian Phillips is a native born Texan. He grew up in Terrell Texas, which is approximately 32 miles east of the Dallas area. He even played at one of the biggest football programs in the state, the University of Texas. Is it time to bring him home?

I personally believe Adrian Phillips is exactly what the Dallas Cowboys need. He’s just 27 – turns 28 March 28 – and shouldn’t break the bank to sign, especially considering he missed several games last season due to a broken arm. Add all of that up and he sounds even more like a Cowboys free agent target.

You may feel differently of course and that your prerogative, but I know I will personally have my fingers crossed in the hopes the Dallas Cowboys sign Adrian Phillips. It just makes way too much sense to me. I’m just hoping the Cowboys brass feels the same.

Do you think the Dallas Cowboys should target Adrian Phillips 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. I am open to the signing of Phillips. I would prefer the cowboys sign a safety in FA so there aren’t any limitations on draft night. I like the idea of drating Delpit, but if one of those big 3 receivers are on the board at 17, I do not think we should pass them up regardless if Cooper resigns. An offense with Dak, Zeke, Cooper, Gallup, Cobb, and Jeudy/Ruggs/Lamb would be electric.

    • Dylan, Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment. I completely agree and have even said as much myself. The FA safety market this year is pretty talented and several of them, like Adrian Phillips, won’t break the bank to sign. I also really like the idea of taking one of the Top 3 WRs at 17 if they are still on the board. It’s not like the Cowboys have a lot of WR depth, even if Amari Cooper and Randall Cobb are both re-signed.

  2. Dear Brian— first of all i am excited when i see fellow spinal cord injury follks doing so well…hats off to you

    I would love the signing of Philips….for same reason to free us up on draft weekend…and i too would love to land another quality receiver who would be day one starter or in competition for that

    Brian one question—-do you think we will keep # 31?…i sure hope we find a way

    thanks..sincerely Robert Bass

    • Thanks Robert, that means a lot. Also, thank you for taking the time to reach out and leave a comment.

      I think signing Phillips makes a lot of sense for a number of reasons. Like you said to free us up on draft weekend, he’s an outstanding special teams player, capable starter at FS or SS, can play LB if needed, should be a cost-effective signing, and has outstanding leadership qualities both on and off the field. Sounds like a win-win to me, but I don’t know if the Cowboys feel the same.

      I also think we need to add more/better WR depth, even if they do bring back both Amari Cooper and Randall Cobb. There’s very little quality depth at the position right now and it’s something I believe isn’t talked about enough.

      Sadly, I think Byron Jones’ days with the Cowboys are over. I think there is going to be a bidding war for his services and I don’t think the Cowboys are willing to pay what he’s going to end up getting from another team. I won’t be surprised if he’s highest-paid CB when all is said and done.

  3. Great article! I like to think that I keep up with things in the NFL, but this story proves I miss A LOT! From what you write it would make no sense to not seriously consider him. Besides the points made about having more flexibility during the draft, he sounds line a better verison of Jeff Heath…except with more football skills and IQ. Not slamming Heath. Another important point that I think people miss is that he already has the “feel” to be in the NFL, wether that is preparation, expectations or knowledge. Losing Jones is tough, but if you can save a high draft pick, then to me, you need to go with Phillip’s.

    • Thanks Greg!. I really appreciate you taking the time to leave a comment. There’s a lot to like about Adrian Phillips and what he can bring to the Dallas Cowboys. Like you said, I think he’s an upgrade over Jeff Heath and would free the Cowboys up from reaching for his safety in the draft. Signing Phillips wouldn’t necessarily prevent them from drafting one early, but it would make it less of a “need”.

  4. I like your analysis. Intelligence is important at the safety position. I like that he’s a great Special Teams player. I’m all for this pickup.

    • Thanks Howard! Adrian Phillips’ leadership and game preparation is one of the things his teammates and coaches praise the most. The fact that he’s an outstanding special teams player is an added bonus.

  5. Hello! This is my first time messaging on here. I’m a huge Cowboys fan from Toronto, Canada and there are many others of us in the area, although Buffalo fans are more in the numbers for Toronto being so close to Buffalo.

    The Safety position is such a essential position for them to fill out this year and although Xavier Woods and Jeff Heath have been stable there, there hasn’t been that “IT” guy there in a long time and although any fan in their right mind would absolutely love Jamal Adams, we even know that it’s not doable with what the asking price is. Adrian Phillips is the perfect match made in heaven for them! He’s a big upgrade, you can sign him very cheap because of his injury and that’s where the Cowboys always hit the bang for buck, players that still have lots to prove i.e. Robert Quinn (although that was a trade but same idea).

    I would like to finish off by saying this where it sounds as though you would disagree with me but that’s okay because everyone has different opinions. I think letting Byron Jones go is the best thing only for the sake they they can’t tag him because of Prescott and Cooper. Jones will get 17-18 million a year and I’m sorry, yes I know he’s a great corner, but for that money, I’m expecting turnovers! 2 in his career? That doesn’t justify paying him to be the most expensive CB in the league! Great cheap utility players will get you more turnovers! I know his coverage play is great but go back to the 2016 playoff game against Green Bay and ask yourself where was Jones on that final play. I’m a fan of his, but not at that price.

    Thank you for your time and I love reading your blogs!

    • Thanks for commenting Eric! I agree that Adrian Phillips would be a pretty big upgrade, both as a safety and special teams player.

      And, as far as Byron Jones concerned it’s sadly part of the business. I think he is well worth the money he’s going to get in free agency despite his lack of INT’s. I think that had a lot more to do with the scheme than anything. And the 2016 playoff game you are referring to he was playing safety at the time and I think we can blame that blunder on the defensive coverage.

    • I mean you can’t really blame Jones for that final play against GB in the playoffs. The defensive play call was piss poor to begin with. You rush 3 guys against Aaron Rodgers you are asking for any positive play to go his way. Had we immediately blitzed he would have just thrown the ball right away which would not have given his WR’s enough time to get down the field fast enough for the long first down completion. Anyways I do agree with you. 2 INT’s his entire career is pathetic. I mean yeah I get he’s not a flashy guy trying to go up and grab the ball he just bats it down. I cant count how many times I’ve seen him just bat down balls he could have picked off. Yes it will definitely hurt losing him but I mean it can’t hurt that much as our defense gives up so many fucking yards anyways lol

    • There’s plenty of safeties available in free agency who can come in and help, Adrian Phillips just happens to be a cost-effective option who I also believe can come in and be an upgrade over Jeff Heath. I’m just dumping the Dallas Cowboys for the same.

  6. I think Phillips should be a good player to add, but I think Dallas should draft a safety in the third or fourth rounds. Regarding Byron Jones I think Dallas will regret losing him. There is no one in free agency better or at least close to his level and it will put the cowboys in a draft for need position. As for drafting a receiver on day one I disagree if cooper and Cobb are resigned, there are at least 10 receivers in the draft that can help.

  7. The great thing about adding Adrian Phillips pre-draft is that it shouldn’t prevent the Cowboys from drafting one at any point in the draft this year.

    Losing Byron Jones is definitely going to hurt. Sadly, the Cowboys just unwilling to pay what he’s going to receive on the open market. He could very well end up being the highest paid defensive player when everything is said and done.

    For me, it really all depends on who’s still on the board at 17 when the Cowboys are on the clock. If one of the Top 3 WRs are there it would be really hard for me to pass them up. I think CJ Henderson is a no-brainer probably over the WRs, but that’s about it for me. I have concerns about Javon Kinlaw, K’lavon Chaisson, and a few others as well. I want as close to a can’t miss player in the 1st as possible.

  8. Im all for signing Adrian Phillips, as i was last year as well. Hopeful Stephen Jones is active early in FA, and Wll McClay has his head on right…Phillips should/could come relatively cheap since he only signed for 1yr/$2mil for last season, coming off IR, but Id offer up say 4yr/$12-up to $15mil just to lock him in.

  9. Im all for signing Adrian Phillips, as i was last year as well. Hopeful Stephen Jones is active early in FA, and Wll McClay has his head on right…Phillips should/could come relatively cheap since he only signed for 1yr/$2mil for last season, coming off IR, but Id offer up say 4yr/$12-up to $15mil just to lock him in. I’d draft Strong Safety Kyle Dugger in 2nd round if Phillips signs elsewhere.

  10. I wouldn’t mind signing Adrian Phillips, but I still want to draft Xavier Mckinney in the draft!! Even if we did sign a free agent safety we’d still be really short on depth at the position!! I think safety and DT are the 2 biggest needs for us!! But if it was my choice, there’s no way I’d pass up on a player like Xavier Mckinney!! But that’s just my opinion!!

    • I’d say DT and CB are our biggest needs, but signing Adrian Phillips shouldn’t stop the Cowboys from drafting a safety at any point in the draft. There are few players I would draft ahead of Xavier McKinney, but he’s definitely in the running.

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