Dallas Cowboys safety George Iloka is a sleeping giant
By Boss Cowboy
Clue #1 – Economic Politics
Cowboy fans should know very well the economics of football is sometimes a false indication of a lack of talent. Former cornerback Brandon Carr and safety Barry Church were solid, durable starters that had a much tougher job than the team’s current starters in similar positions.
Carr and Church had to hold up in coverage with a pass rush that was ranked 31st in 2016. Imagine both with this current super pass rush. Today’s defensive backs only have to cover four to five seconds with a healthy DeMarcus Lawrence versus the 2016 secondary’s fourteen seconds, when Tank was dealing with an injured back.
Iloka was the Barry Church of the Bengals, before leaving for Minnesota. The economic benefit of Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, and Jeff Heath were the primary reasons for the departure of Morris Claiborne, Carr, and Church.
In 2018, Jessie Bates was drafted to the Bengals in the second round and picked 54th overall as a free safety. In the business of football, when a team acquires a second rounder for much cheaper than a current competing higher contract and is projected to be just as good or better than that higher contract, the veteran will be on the bubble. Iloka’s release from the Bengals during the 2018 preseason was more about economics than his play.
Seeing the economic politics of football, Iloka bet on himself by going to Minnesota to play for his former defensive coordinator in Zimmer. The bet was logical but aggressive, which speaks to his confidence in his play. The logic was to play for a coach that he knew didn’t care about draft politics and economics.
Iloka himself in his interviews with the Vikings.com spoke about his reasons he chose to play for Zimmer. The other logical thought process that went into him choosing Minnesota was the fact that he knew the system.
The Vikings move for Iloka had an obvious downside. The player bet on himself, but the bet was against solid league safety starters that were already playing well. I don’t have to sell All-Pro and Pro-Bowler safety, Harrison Smith. The other safety, Anthony Harris, was on an accelerated positive trajectory as his competing safety Andrew Sendejo was battling through injuries.
Iloka bet that Zimmer had no favorites. And it was true, except it was valid for Harris. Iloka needed him to make mistakes in order to get his opportunity, and it just didn’t happen. As a result of Zimmer staying with the hot hand, two excellent safety prospects were the odd men out. Sendejo is now with the Philadelphia Eagles. And, of course, we know where Iloka ended up.
The political economics are now better for Iloka in Dallas. Cowboy safety Jeff Heath survived the secondary fire sale of 2017 with a super team-friendly contract. Now Heath doesn’t have the economic shield against Iloka like he had against Church. The same thought aligns about safety Xavier Woods. Under the current economic environment, every safety has to let their play do the talking.