Is Patrick Peterson the Dallas Cowboys answer at safety?

Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson (Rob Schumacher/The Arizona Republic via USA TODAY NETWORK)
Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson (Rob Schumacher/The Arizona Republic via USA TODAY NETWORK) /

The Dallas Cowboys have a need at safety. It can be argued that the Cowboys have had that need since the days of Darren Woodson and Roy Williams.

The simple fact is the Cowboys can’t pay superstars to fill every position. The salary cap prevents that. That means some positions are less invested in than others, with safety being one of them in Dallas for several years now.

Yet, with new coaches come new ideas and philosophies. We certainly saw evidence of that in last year’s draft when the team elected to draft Oklahoma wide receiver CeeDee Lamb with their first-round selection. You have to believe the presence of a new head coach in Mike McCarthy influenced Dallas to choose talent over team need.

Perhaps new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn will have the same influence when it comes to the Cowboys investing in positions like safety. After all, Quinn went to two straight Super Bowls with the Seattle Seahawks leading the Legion of Boom and their potential Hall of Fame safety duo of Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor.

And while most believe Quinn’s influence will impact the draft, don’t discount the possibility that Dallas finds an answer at safety via free agency. One potential name to watch is Arizona Cardinals cornerback, Patrick Peterson, who is set to become an unrestricted free agent in March.

Here’s what NFL analyst Bucky Brooks wrote on the league’s official website about Peterson potentially making the move from corner to safety this offseason.

"” … I believe Peterson could be one of the value items on the free-agent market — IF he moves to safety. As an instinctive playmaker with ball skills and a wealth of experience, he could extend his playing days by relocating inside to occupy the deep middle … a move to safety would enable him to rely on his experience, football IQ and playmaking ability.”"

Turning 31-years old in July, there’s some debate whether the eight-time Pro Bowler is capable or would even entertain the idea of moving over to safety. But Brooks pointed to Hall of Fame corners like Charles Woodson and Rod Woodson who successfully made the transition and extended their legendary careers doing so.

Certainly, the idea of shifting cornerbacks to play safety is something the Cowboys have toyed with for years. The most recent example being 2020 fourth-rounder Reggie Robinson II, who made the move in the offseason but failed to see a single defensive snap as a rookie.

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While Patrick Peterson could certainly be the answer to the Dallas Cowboys’ woes at safety, this offseason isn’t ideal for signing big-name free agents. With the salary cap expected to take a hit due to the negative impact of the pandemic and quarterback Dak Prescott yet to be signed or tagged, the Cowboys don’t figure to have much wiggle room to overpay for free agents this year.