Dallas Cowboys: How to upgrade the safety position for cheap

Xavier Woods #25 (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images)
Xavier Woods #25 (Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images) /

Many around the Dallas Cowboys consider safety to be a chief concern this offseason, but the good news is, not all of the solutions have to be expensive

Not all solutions require heavy spending or costly draft capital. Some solutions can be had for cheap. The Dallas Cowboys rolled the dice at safety last season. Instead of ponying up the draft pick to add the incomparable Earl Thomas, Dallas stuck with who they had. And for the most part, the gamble paid off.

Thomas remains the best fit heading into free agency this week. While many turn up their nose at the idea of making him the highest paid at his position, his potential impact on the team is widely recognized. Whether or not his demands are for real or just posturing remains to be seen, but he still is a very real possibility heading into free agency. But what if the Dallas Cowboys don’t want to break the bank at safety? What if they want to save money at safety and use their financial resources elsewhere? That’s what we’ll explore today…

Be patient in free agency

It’s almost impossible to get a bargain player early in free agency. Teams looking for deals often have to play the waiting game and let the market come to them. Take a look at the flooded market. Not all of these players are going to get paid and if a team is patient (and not too picky) a good player can be had for cheap.

If the Cowboys go this route, they need to be prepared for the worst because there is no guarantee a desirable player will be available to them. That’s why a potential position switch should be considered.

Move Chidobe to safety

I mentioned this option last week to the outrage of many, but the reality is Chidobe Awuzie was uncomfortable as an outside cornerback last season and safety may play better to his skills. “May” being the operative word. The idea of moving him to a position he frequently played in college isn’t really all that preposterous if you remember him as a draft prospect.

Using bargains in free agency, the strengths of the draft, and the position flex of the roster allows the Dallas Cowboys multiple avenues to improve without breaking the bank.

Last season the Dallas Cowboys moved Byron Jones from safety to corner with tremendous success. Keep in mind, Byron Jones was a better safety in 2017 than Chidobe Awuzie was a cornerback in 2018. Therefore moving Awuzie should seem considerably less absurd.

The cost conscious part in this relates to Awuzie’s contract. Playing on his rookie deal, he’s still under contract for two more seasons at about $1.2 million per season (per spotrac).

If he can platoon with Jeff Heath at safety (leaving Woods in the starting lineup at all times) it would be an upgrade in a variety of ways. See related article for those ways:

Must Read. Forget Earl, let's make Chido a safety. light

Best yet, it wouldn’t prevent the Cowboys from playing the free agent market or investing a draft pick should the right kind of safety drop to them. Obviously you don’t do this if you think he’s a better CB than S, but if you think that you probably don’t think very highly of Chidobe because he was pretty bad at CB last season.

The Draft

There are some nice safeties in the NFL Draft this year but it’s not exactly loaded with Kris Richard-type guys. Those guys are all playing the cornerback position. At cornerback there’s a handful of long boundary cornerbacks perfectly built to play the Cowboys Cover 3.

The Cowboys have the top four CB spots pretty well locked down this season so opportunities are slim for a rookie. But moving a starter like Awuzie opens things up at CB should the right player fall into their laps. And with all of Dallas’ top four CBs set to hit free agency in the next 24 months, finding a new player this year is a smart thing to do.

Prepping the roster now to provide flexibility in the draft is a very Stephen Jones kind of move to make. If the Cowboys can lightly address the need in advance, they can keep all their options open at CB and S during the draft.

No high dollar players

As you can see, there are no high-dollar players in the above proposal, yet all the potential for improvement. Using bargains in free agency, the strengths of the draft, and the position flex of the roster allows the Dallas Cowboys multiple avenues to improve without breaking the bank.

Next. Dallas Cowboys Mock Draft: Post Combine Edition. dark

Best yet, they don’t have to reach in the draft or break the bank in free agency to get it done.

  • Published on 03/11/2019 at 13:00 PM
  • Last updated at 03/11/2019 at 12:05 PM