With the NFL trade deadline quickly approaching, here are three safeties the Dallas Cowboys could trade for to improve their defensive secondary.
After a 40-10 blowout victory over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday, the Dallas Cowboys are riding high. But keeping all things in perspective, the Niners are a winless team. And the Cowboys had an entire bye week to prepare to face them.
Dallas will not have those same advantages in the coming weeks. With games scheduled against the Kansas City Chiefs, Atlanta Falcons, Oakland Raiders, Seattle Seahawks and two matchups with the surging Philadelphia Eagles; this Cowboys group will have an uphill battle defending their NFC East championship and getting back to the postseason.
One of the areas that the Cowboys have struggled in so far this season has been poor defensive secondary play. Specifically at safety.
Former first round selection Byron Jones is a special athlete who is a solid NFL safety who can both tackle and cover. Unfortunately, Jones isn’t much of a playmaker. In his third season, he has just one interception in his entire career in Dallas. Through six games this year, Jones has 30 total tackles and three pass defends.
The Cowboys certainly hoped they had found themselves a playmaker at safety in Jeff Heath. Dallas’ longtime special teams ace made the move to starting safety when veteran Barry Church left the Cowboys this offseason via free agency. And Heath was coming off a career performance against the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs, recording three tackles, 1.0 sack and two interceptions (one of his picks was called back).
But so far this season, Heath has been less than impressive. Although his substitution at kicker for an injured Dan Bailey on Sunday was fun to watch, the fifth-year veteran’s play at safety has not been. Heath is an inconsistent tackler, a liability in coverage and a downgrade at the position. The playmaking ability he demonstrated in the playoffs has all but disappeared.
Byron Jones is a first round pick and his place on the roster as a starter is secure. The same can not be said about Heath, who may honestly play better coming off the bench.
Both rookies Chidobe Awuzie and Xavier Woods plus Kavon Frazier are all certainly candidates to take that starting role away from Heath. But maybe what the Cowboys really need right now is a veteran who can be a bridge player, allowing the younger prospects to grow (and get healthy) without the pressures of the starting job.
With the Halloween NFL trade deadline quickly approaching, here are three veteran safeties I believe the Dallas Cowboys could make a move for in order to improve their defensive secondary this season.