The Dallas Cowboys make a trade to help secure their defensive secondary, acquiring Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Bene Benwikere.
Heading into the NFL regular season, the Dallas Cowboys‘ defensive secondary has more questions than answers. And that’s mainly due to two issues: inexperience and injury.
Over the offseason, the Cowboys allowed three of their starters in the secondary to leave via free agency. Those players being safety Barry Church and veteran cornerbacks Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne.
In response, Dallas elected to use seven of their nine selections in the 2017 NFL Draft on the defensive side of the ball. Out of that class, the Cowboys grabbed cornerbacks Chidobe Awuzie (second round), Jourdan Lewis (third round), Marquez White (sixth round) and safety Xavier Woods (sixth round) to address those needs.
Combine those additions with the signing of free agent cornerback Nolan Carroll, and the Cowboys appeared well on their way to revamping that area of their roster. Especially considering the fact they still had corners Orlando Scandrick and Anthony Brown as potential starters on the depth chart, and safeties Byron Jones and Jeff Heath in place.
Unfortunately, injuries have ravaged the Cowboys rookie class the past couple months. Awuzie played in just one preseason contest due to his struggles with both an ankle and hamstring issues. Lewis missed nearly all of training camp and the entire exhibition season due to his own hamstring injury. In fact, all of Dallas’ rookie defensive backs dealt with injuries throughout training camp. And that’s put them further behind than Dallas likely feels comfortable with.
So it comes at no real surprise that the Cowboys opted to address their need for a bit more experience in the defensive backfield on Saturday, trading the Cincinnati Bengals a conditional 2019 late round selection for cornerback Bene Benwikere. This news was first reported by NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport.
The 25-year old Benwikere was a fifth round selection out of San Jose State back in 2014. He played his first three seasons with the Carolina Panthers, starting in 14 of his 32 games. During his time with the Panthers, Benwikere recorded 102 total tackles, 20 pass defends, two interceptions and one sack.
After two solid seasons in Carolina, Benwikere hit a career-low when he allowed Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones to catch 12 passes for 300 yards and a touchdown last October. The Panthers waived the young slot corner a week later. Since then, Benwikere has had small stints with the Miami Dolphins, the Green Bay Packers and the Bengals.
Bene Benwikere will be placed on the Dallas Cowboys final 53-man roster as a result of this trade and will likely hit the field for them in Week One against the New York Giants. In Big “D”, Benwikere will have the chance to regain the form he displayed his first season when Sports Illustrated named him to their All-Rookie Team.