Dallas Cowboys Cannot Leave Themselves Shorthanded in the Secondary
By Ben Grimaldi
The Dallas Cowboys have some big decisions to make in the secondary this offseason and they cannot afford to head into 2017 shorthanded.
Decisions, decisions, there will be plenty of those for the Dallas Cowboys to make this off-season. The biggest one will be what to do with quarterback Tony Romo. Besides him, however, there is an entire secondary that appears to be in flux as they head into the free agency.
At cornerback, both Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne are scheduled to hit the open market in March. Those are two major contributors at a position where the NFL demands you to have good players at to be successful, especially if your team lacks a pass rush. With the pass rush a major concern, it’s safe to say the Cowboys cannot afford to lose both.
The same can be said about the safety position, where Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox are set to test the free agent waters. Church and Wilcox were a big part of a much improved secondary this season and Dallas can ill-afford to have both walk away.
The Cowboys are in a precarious spot at both positions. Allowing all four to walk away, which is also an option, could jeopardize a defense that needs help. However, the team doesn’t have a ton of money to go on a spending spree, even if it is their own free agents.
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So what should Dallas do?
The first order of business should be to retain Church. He’s one of the glue guys on the Cowboys; he’s a leader in the secondary and a solid player who rarely makes a big mistake. Church had one of his best seasons this year and is as reliable as they get. It may get a tad dicey since he can probably land a nice deal in free agency, but the Cowboys cannot afford to let him go.
Wilcox also had his best year as a pro, but fellow safety Jeff Heath is a better player (to me) and is always around the ball. That means something for a team that struggles to take the ball away. Dallas also drafted Kavon Frazier last year and he should be able to ease the loss of Wilcox.
After Church is back in the fold, Dallas should try to re-sign Carr. His play has been much better than people think and his best ability has been availability, he has never missed a game in the NFL. Carr is also a sure tackler who doesn’t give up many big plays. No one liked the price the Cowboys paid to get him, but his play is worthy of bringing him back.
Those attributes can’t be said about Claiborne, who has missed significant time. Mo might have played his best football last season, but once again he couldn’t stay healthy to make it through even half the year. The only way the team might bring Claiborne back is on another short deal to see if he can remain healthy enough for a big score next year. Otherwise, the Cowboys should move on from the player they moved up to draft, but never lived up to the potential.
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The Dallas Cowboys can’t have all four players walk away this off-season, it would be too hard to replace all four in one try. Bringing Church and Carr back should be the priority, but the salary cap may alter that strategy.
If the Cowboys aren’t careful, the secondary could be a major issue in 2017.
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