Should the Dallas Cowboys trade for safety Justin Simmons?

Justin Simmons, Denver Broncos - Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
Justin Simmons, Denver Broncos - Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports /
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While fans of the Dallas Cowboys have been enamored with the idea of upgrading the safety position in Big D, those in charge of the team seemingly don’t feel the same. Having invested in so many other positions, the Cowboys’ brass has settled for below-average play at safety for years.

The Cowboys have tried to find low-cost options like veteran free agents Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (2020) and George Iloka (2019) to improve their safety play. But neither made it past final cuts in their respective offseasons with the team.

And Dallas has chosen to only use sixth-selections over the past seven years on the safety position. Those players being Donovan Wilson (2019), Xavier Woods (2017), and Kavon Frazier (2016).

The exception might be Tulsa cornerback Reggie Robinson II who was selected in the fourth round this year and moved to safety during training camp. The rookie has yet to play a single snap through the team’s first five games though.

Last Sunday, the Cowboys starting safeties against the New York Giants were Xavier Woods and Donovan Wilson. It was Wilson’s first NFL start of his career and he recorded two tackles. Darian Thompson started opposite Woods for the team’s first four games. But the sudden injection of Wilson last weekend reveals the Cowboys’ new coaching staff still feels unsettled at the position.

ESPN’s Bill Barnwell believes he has a possible solution to the team’s safety dance. He recently proposed a trade with the Denver Broncos for Justin Simmons. Here’s what Barnwell wrote about the potential deal.

"“Trading for Simmons would be a bold move, especially given that they just lost [Dak] Prescott for the season, but Dallas has enough to win the NFC East with Andy Dalton behind center if it can get the secondary right. … Simmons would presumably be open to a significant extension on the sort of long-term deal the Cowboys favor.”"

A third-round selection back in 2016 out of Boston College, Simmons has been the starter in Denver over the past four years. Last season, the soon-to-be 27-year old posted 93 total tackles and career-highs in both pass deflections (15) and interceptions (4). Simmons also earned an impressive 90.7 overall grade from Pro Football Focus for his play in 2019.

Barnwell believes there’s no reason for the 1-3 Broncos to have Simmons play out the rest of the season if they lose their next two games. And that it will take a 2021 second-round pick and a fourth-rounder in 2022 to get the deal done.

The 2019 second-team All-Pro is currently playing on the franchise tag and is scheduled to become a free agent in March. Simmons’ salary jumped from just over $2 million last year to a whopping $11.4 million in 2020. If traded, he’ll undoubtedly want to sign a long-term deal soon after. And has Simmons’ estimated market value being north of $14 million per season.

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Along with the obvious financial concerns, parting with draft picks is where this proposed trade falls apart in my eyes. Finding immediate contributors via the draft is going to be essential for the Dallas Cowboys over the next couple of years. And that’s due to the majority of their salary cap being tied up to pay several of their current star players. I’m not sure adding a pricey defender like Justin Simmons at a position the team clearly undervalues makes much sense.