Tim Heitman-US PRESSWIRE
The Dallas Cowboys are currently short on cash to spend in free agency, but will the team find a way to make a move for a safety?
Currently the Dallas Cowboys sit around roughly $175,000 under the salary cap and have taken a backseat to the free agency splurge that is taking place around the NFL. Even though they will save some money releasing defensive lineman Marcus Spears, he was designated as a June 1 cut and Dallas will not see the $2 million they saved releasing Spears until then. If the Cowboys could work out a new deal with Tony Romo, then they would have a lot more breathing room and flexibility to make some moves in free agency.
If they clear up some cap room, there are a few areas the Cowboys could look to focus on. One area that appears to keep popping up is linebacker. There have been some rumors that the team could be interested in Brian Urlacher, but as much as I'd love to see him in Dallas, I doubt the Cowboys look to spend that type of money on a player who is probably on the downside of his career. Todd Archer reports that the team could look at Chase Blackburn again, while Calvin Watkins threw out Kevin Burnett's name as another possibility.
There has been some chatter that the SAM linebacker position looks like a pressing need, but I believe safety is the bigger need. At one point, this was a deep free agent safety class. Unfortunately, that market continues to dry up as those safeties are signing contracts throughout the NFL.
The Philadelphia Eagles are actively trying to upgrade their secondary and have made a couple of moves that look interesting. Patrick Chung and Kenny Phillips both have agreed to terms with the Eagles. Both players haven't exactly lived up to their draft status, but each player is talented enough to solidify the Eagles' safety situation. Phillips was a player I wanted the Cowboys to really pursue on a one-year deal, but that dream has went up in smoke.
While the market is drying up quickly, here are a couple of guys who could make sense for the Cowboys.
Woodson's name has been floated around for various teams, so it's still unclear where he will end up. Because of his age, injury history and salary, the Cowboys probably won't chase a big name like Woodson. If he would consider coming to Dallas at a discount, then Woodson would be a highly versatile player who could play various positions in the secondary.
Could the former Tampa-2 disciple make a reunion with his former defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin? The conversion from cornerback to safety isn't an easy one, just ask Alan Ball, but Barber has successfully done it and he continues to generate turnovers. Barber may be nearly 38 years old, but his veteran experience and familiarity with Kiffin's scheme could be a good fit if the price is right.
A surprising cut considering Ed Reed could also leave Baltimore, Pollard is more of a strong safety but he does have some playmaking ability. Pollard is the type of physical force we haven't seen in Dallas since Roy Williams. Due to his success in Baltimore, he should receive a lot interest on the free agent market.
Delmas was one of the safeties I wanted the Cowboys to target back in the 2009 NFL Draft. The Cowboys never got a shot at him because he was drafted by the Detroit Lions 33rd overall, but it's possible they could land him this year in free agency. After losing Dashon Goldson to Tampa Bay, the San Francisco 49ers have met with Delmas and could sign him soon. Delmas has some durability concerns, but he would be a really good addition to our secondary.
The Arizona Cardinals cut Wilson after he spent 12 seasons with them. At one point in his career, Wilson was one of the most dangerous and athletic safeties in the game. Yes, he's lost a step, but this guy still has something left in the tank. The five-time Pro Bowl safety would provide our secondary with some needed veteran leadership.
Just a couple years ago Huff was one of the big free agent names that was linked to the Cowboys. He eventually re-signed with Oakland, but his play never lived up to his contract and he was cut. The former Texas Longhorn would probably love to come home to Texas and play football for the Dallas Cowboys. I don't know if Huff will ever be the type of player he was supposed to be coming out of college, but he would at least offer the Cowboys some depth and veteran experience.
The former Troy product took a step back in 2012, but his coverage ability and athleticism could intrigue the Cowboys to take a chance on him. Martin is more in the mold of a free safety who can cover a lot of ground and make plays on the football. Martin is a converted college cornerback and can offer the Cowboys a lot of versatility. If he's not a starter, Martin could be a good backup or the type of player who plays a lot in the Nickel package.
Another former Raven, Landry took his talents to Jacksonville and never lived up to the big contract he got from the Jaguars. Landry is probably another strong safety, but his decision making allows him to be in the right place and limit mistakes. If he were to play in a more talented defense, Landry could possibly get back to playing the type of football that we saw from him in Baltimore.