With issues in their defensive secondary, should the Dallas Cowboys trade for Pro Bowl safety T.J. Ward as a bridge player this season?
One of the biggest concerns as the Dallas Cowboys‘ season nears the the midway point is the team’s play at safety. Starters Byron Jones and Jeff Heath have both underwhelmed at times this season. Should the Cowboys consider trading for a player to upgrade the position?
Neither Jones nor Heath has recorded an interception yet this season. But the latter has really struggled with inconsistency both as a tackler and in coverage. But Dallas does have two talented rookie defensive backs waiting in the wings.
Second round selection Chidobe Awuzie can shift from cornerback to safety, but a hamstring injury has limited his availability. And sixth rounder Xavier Woods has played well in spot duty, but is still a raw player. Both first year players are candidates to overtake Heath at some point this season.
With the Halloween NFL trade deadline quickly approaching, the Cowboys have a small window to add some quality depth to this position. And adding a veteran at safety could provide the perfect bridge player to allow the Cowboys’ young prospects to grow and get healthy.
"“The Cowboys seem to be satisfied with Jeff Heath’s play at safety so far this season, and they like the potential shown by rookie Xavier Woods,” wrote Edward Lewis for NFL.com. “But a veteran like Ward, who’s disgruntled with his playing time down in Tampa Bay, would no doubt be an upgrade over both of those DBs. Ward might not be the best cover guy, but he isn’t afraid to play in the box, which would help the Cowboys’ weak run defense immensely.”"
The 30-year old Ward was surprisingly released by the Denver Broncos during final cuts prior to this season. The next day, he signed a one-year, $5 million with the Bucs. But a hip injury has limited the eight-year veteran to just four games this season. He’s recorded a total of 15 tackles and two pass defends in limited snaps.
Last year, the three-time Pro Bowler and Super Bowl champion recorded 87 total tackles, eight pass defends, three forced fumbles, one interception and 1.0 sack in 14 games. According to NFL.com, they believe the Cowboys could acquire the veteran safety with something as low as a seventh round selection.