In my second bargain hunters piece regarding the secondary, I again suggested four possible options. Two of the options actually landed squarely in the NFC East. Malcolm Jenkins signed for three years and $15.5 million to bolster the Eagles safety spot while the Giants nabbed CB Walter Thurmond, III for one year and $3.5 million. Jenkins was paid as I thought. Given his body of work, youth and the Cowboys need, I added an extra year and six million on to the deal he received. As for Thurmond, I went for a more long term deal with less per year money than the Giants decided upon. Ultimately, the Giants landed a bigger fish (Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie) to pair with Thurmond. It should be interesting however, to see how he fares minus Seattle’s notoriously strong defense.
The other two suggestions I thought of are still available. Corey Webster and Nick Collins have gone unsigned in the first wave of free agency and may last until after June 1. New to the pool of options are former Dolphins safety Chris Clemons and former Falcons Pro-Bowl safety Thomas DeCoud. Unfortunately, neither will likely be in a Cowboys uniform next year as the noise from inside Valley Ranch is that Jerry is plenty happy with the safeties currently on the roster. Of course he is. I mean, when you think of Matt Johnson, J.J. Wilcox and Jeff Heath, you think of some of the most talented young players in the game today, right? Maybe Webster and Collins aren’t the answers either, but at least it’s an effort and they would be low cost.
The last bargain hunters piece addressed improvements needed in the linebacker corps. Of the four possible names I provided, two have already signed deals. Daryl Smith (four years/$16.1 million) and Brandon Spikes (one year/$3.25 million) both found decent deals. Smith got paid more than I would have offered based solely off his age but he is a good player who had a really good year last season. Spikes would have been an interesting case for the Cowboys given that he only signed a one year deal. It may be that he wanted to prove himself in order to cash in next season, however I would have offered him three years and $7 million to see if he would have accepted. The other two players I thought would help Dallas are still out there, yet there is no evidence that they are being sought out by the team. I have been banging the Shaun Phillips drum for two solid years now. Maybe it makes too much sense? Phillips is a slightly older, way more healthy version of Anthony Spencer and far more productive too.
Alas, the organization has some secret love affair with Spencer as they are still hoping he comes back even though he’s coming off a brutal knee procedure. Meanwhile, Phillips and his 34 sacks over the last four years (including 10 in 2013 and 9.5 in 2012) sits by the phone waiting. Two years, $5.5 million and you have a massively cheaper, equally productive version of Jared Allen.
Another underrated linebacker in Erin Henderson is out there waiting on a call as well. His 112 tackles and 4 sacks last year would have led the Cowboys in each category for the position. He’s also younger and bigger than Justin Durant however it looks like Durant will be back in 2014 for another lackluster tour of duty. Meanwhile, two years and five million dollars would provide Dallas with proper depth while not stopping the progress of a draftee if they chose to go that route.
Apparently, these names don’t do it for Jerry as much as Jeremy Mincey or Terrell McClain. Maybe next week, we’ll have a new Cowboy on the defensive side to discuss but this week, it appears that Dallas is just window shopping.