The Denver Broncos are reportedly shopping starting safety T.J. Ward. Should the Dallas Cowboys pursue the Pro Bowler defensive back?
Update: According to NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport, safety T.J. Ward has been notified by the Denver Broncos that he has been released. The 30-year old will now become a free agent.
One of the main storylines for the Dallas Cowboys this offseason has been their questionable secondary. While they have some promising rookies in Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis, it remains to be seen if their back end will hold up against elite passing attacks.
One of the Cowboys’ biggest offseason losses was starting safety Barry Church, who was one of the more underrated players on Dallas’ no-name defense. Jeff Heath is the next man up for Church, and while he’s developed into a quality player, he is still a downgrade from number 42.
According to reports, the Denver Broncos are fielding offers for starting safety T.J. Ward. Ward has a similar play style to Church, but a clear upgrade when healthy.
Although Ward had a down year last season, he was still stout against the run, and a playmaker for Denver’s defensive unit. He still managed to notch 87 combined tackles, one sack and one interception and would be a seemingly nice fit alongside free safety Byron Jones. Jones would get to freelance in the defensive backfield, while Ward would play closer to the box. This formula worked for the Cowboys the last couple years with Jones and Church, so it should work with Ward.
Other than his play on the field, Ward could bring veteran leadership to a young Dallas secondary. He was considered one of the vocal leaders on Denver, and plenty of Denver’s players were upset upon hearing the news of his potential departure. This includes second-year man Justin Simmons, who will presumably take Ward’s spot as the starting strong safety. Simmons said Ward was a great mentor for him as a young player coming into the league.
"“T.J. has been there for me since Day 1,” Simmons told the Denver Post. “Coming into last year, he was the first person to text me on draft night. He’s just been there for me since Day 1. Like I said, that’s why when I heard about this whole trade thing coming out, it’s crazy to kind of hear about it. I mean, you’re talking about messing with the chemistry of the defense and the chemistry he has with so many guys in this locker room, and so we’ll see what happens. It’s crazy.”"
It has been reported that Denver will cut Ward if they cannot find a trading partner, so the Cowboys could conceivably sign him without compensation. However, they would be in competition with several other teams throughout the league. Dallas was allegedly interested in another veteran defensive back released this week in Joe Haden, but he was quickly scooped up by the Steelers.
If the Cowboys could get Ward for, let’s say, a fifth round pick, they should absolutely pull the trigger. This way, they can ensure he doesn’t fall through the cracks, and on to another team.