4 free agents who could make the Cowboys a playoff team

New York Giants defensive end Leonard Williams (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports)
New York Giants defensive end Leonard Williams (Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Justin Simmons, Denver Broncos
Denver Broncos free safety Justin Simmons Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports /

Justin Simmons, S

For years, the Cowboys have elected to underinvest at safety, throwing a trio of sixth-round draft picks at the position since 2016. But with the hiring of Mike McCarthy as head coach last season, Dallas did sign a former first-rounder in Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to compete for a role.

Although Clinton-Dix didn’t make it past final cuts, the effort to address the longstanding need at safety gives some hope Dallas might attempt to do so again this year. Especially after the team fired their defensive coordinator in Mike Nolan and replaced him with former Legion of Boom DC, Dan Quinn.

Helping to lead the Seattle Seahawks to back-to-back Super Bowl appearances as defensive coordinator in 2013 and 2014, Quinn understands the importance of safety play more than most. After all, his legendary defenses in Seattle were led by a duo of potential Hall of Fame safeties in Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor.

So if Quinn and the Cowboys want to seriously upgrade their safety position, they’ll go after the best one in free agency. And that figures to be Justin Simmons. Coming off his first Pro Bowl bid, Simmons is a former third-round selection who has blossomed into a star.

Playing for the Denver Broncos on the franchise tag last season, Simmons racked up 96 total tackles, nine pass deflections, and a career-high five interceptions. Highly-skilled as both a run defender and as a playmaker in coverage, the 27-year old would instantly upgrade Quinn’s secondary in Dallas. And the Cowboys should consider pouncing on him if the Broncos somehow allow him to hit the open market.