Cowboys 2014 Free Agency Needs
Don’t look for much to change at cornerback but pursuing a safety through free agency is a possibility for the Dallas Cowboys in 2014
By Matthew Postins
RattleandHumSports.com is breaking down the free agent needs at every position group for the 2014 Dallas Cowboys. Today it’s the defensive backs.
Cornerbacks: Brandon Carr (starter), Orlando Scandrick (starter), Morris Claiborne (backup), Sterling Moore (backup), B.W. Webb (backup).
Safeties: Barry Church (starter), J.J. Wilcox (starter), Jeff Heath (backup), Danny McCray (backup).
Other notable players: Matt Johnson (spent entire season on IR), Will Allen (released after first month of the season).
Cowboys defensive backs entering free agency: McCray.
Free agency need?: 5 (out of 10, 10 being most pressing).
Why: The secondary was hot and cold all season, and even though most of the unit is under contract it wouldn’t hurt the Cowboys to explore the possibilities. Orlando Scandrick had the best season, while Brandon Carr was uneven and Morris Claiborne was injured most of the year. It’s still unclear what B.W. Webb is going to develop into after one season. As for safety, the big question is at the strong safety position, where Jeff Heath ended the season as the starter and J.J. Wilcox was the backup. Both were rookies and both spent much of the season, at best, treading water. The Cowboys have to get better at that position, and it’s fine if they want to develop both of those players to be starters. But the Cowboys need a backup plan at strong safety should neither develop tangibly in 2014.
Possible targets: It’s hard to see the Cowboys targeting a corner, unless that player can help on special teams. There are some interesting veteran names that could help, including Drayton Florence, Rashean Mathis and Tracy Porter. Safety is where the Cowboys might spend some money, and after you get outside the Top 10 there are some interesting possibilities, including Bernard Pollard, Donte Whitner, Usama Young and Yeremiah Bell.
Looking ahead: There won’t be much change at this position in 2014, given that most of the unit is under contract. If you’re thinking internally the development of Claiborne is critical, as is his health. It would surprise me if the Cowboys brought in a corner, but would not surprise me at all if they spent a little money to get a safety that could challenge and mentor Heath and Wilcox this offseason. That was the plan with Will Allen until the Cowboys cut him after the season’s first month. Cutting Allen and handing the job to Wilcox and, later Heath, was a miscalculation on the Cowboys’ part in hindsight.
Next up: Safeties.