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The VRR: Should the Cowboys Be in the Hunt for a Free Safety?

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Safety first! Is that what the Cowboys should be thinking during their current free agency lull?

There seem to be some good names, some decent options out there for them. If the team has its heart set on drafting a guy like Earl Thomas, and they feel it would be too tough to trade up for him, perhaps a free agent is the answer. Then, does that make Ken Hamlin the question?

Salary aside, Hamlin's lack of production in the forced turnovers department last year does have people seeing the free safety position as one in need of an upgrade. Whether the Cowboys share those concerns, remains to be seen.

So, who should the Cowboys splurge on for their one big money free agent? Darren Sharper?

Jerry Jones has made no secret that he wants more playmaking from his safeties. Sharper is one of the premier playmaking safeties in NFL history. He has 63 career picks, which leads all active players. He has 11 touchdown returns, more than anybody but Hall of Famer Rod Woodson. His 376 interception return yards last season, when he had three touchdowns, set an NFL record.

More VRR after the jump.

Alex Marvez summarizes the notable free agents still available. Here's what he says about the safeties.

Oshiomogho Atogwe (St. Louis/right-of-first-refusal tender), Gerald Sensabaugh (Dallas/second), Abram Elam (Cleveland/second) and Melvin Bullitt (Indianapolis/second):

The Rams are willing to let another team set the market value for Atogwe, who was the Rams' franchise player in 2009. Atogwe is set to earn $7 million this season under his RFA tender, but St. Louis is trying to work out a long-term deal.

The Dallas Morning News quotes Sensabaugh's agent as saying his client is receiving interest from six teams. Despite a history of off-field problems, Sensabaugh is an athletic safety who can handle most slot receivers.

Elam is a big hitter and favorite of Browns coach Eric Mangini, which means he probably isn't going anywhere.

Bullitt has done a yeoman's job replacing the injury-prone Bob Sanders most of the past two seasons.

Here's what SBN's Turf Show Times says about the Rams losing Atogwe to a team like the Cowboys.

If the Cowboys, or any other team, make Atogwe an offer, the Rams have the right to match it and retain the services of the free safety or decline the opportunity to match it and let him walk…for no compensation.

Therein lies the rub. Because Atogwe is a fifth-year player, the RFA rules of the no-cap year treated him a bit differently, mandating that any other RFA offer would have paid him $6.9 million, 110 percent of the salary he received last year playing under the team’s franchise tag.

[snip]

Bottom line: O.J. Atogwe is not going to get $6.9 million per year, not from the Rams and not from any other team, and the Rams still have a good chance of hanging onto Atogwe. The Rams made a move that looks like a head-scratcher, but was a pretty smart calculation/gamble.

Atogwe will not take part in the Rams' offseason programs.

DC.com looks back on the Cowboys' 2009 draft class, acknowledging that some of those players must continue to learn new positions as they develop as pros.

Jason Williams was more of a hybrid pass-rusher at Western Illinois. Hodge was a safety/outside linebacker in TCU's 4-2-5 scheme. Neither had ever played weak inside linebacker in a 3-4.

Brewster worked at his primary college position, tackle, in off-season workouts, but he eventually might've been moved to guard.

Like DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer before them, Butler and Brandon Williams were 4-3 defensive ends in college, not 3-4 outside linebackers.

More than 45,000 people are expected at Cowboys Stadium for Saturday night's Pacquiao-Clottey fight. With the reasonable tickets prices, Jerry Jones may get more and more boxing matches.

According to StubHub, this is the most affordable fight among the ticket broker's highest-grossing boxing events. The average ticket price for this fight is $131, compared to Mayweather-Oscar De La Hoya ($1,892) and Pacquiao-De La Hoya ($1,081), both in Vegas. Pacquiao, meanwhile, says his first visit to Dallas has been memorable.

"It's an honor to fight there this week," says the Filipino superstar, who says he's not a big football fan but described Jones as "a nice guy."

Everything has to be the best, Jerry...the best!

"I have a responsibility to the Cowboys and the NFL, we don't want to deal with anything but the top," Jones said. "I made my mind up with the commitment to this stadium that I wasn't going to be associated with anything but the best and working with the best."

Save the date: April 11, 2010.

An 11-year-old has won the ultimate contest prize: He’ll be pushing the button to dynamite Texas Stadium, former home of the Dallas Cowboys. According to reports, he is "real excited."

Awww, how sweet of Jess!

"Tony is great, still a friend of mine," Simpson said. "I'm still a fan. I still look at his cute butt in the outfit – uniform."

Anyways, vote "Who Was the Better Draft Pick" on NFL.com. We'd all take Tony Dorsett over Bobby Lane, right?

...and the Best Backup QB in the Beast Award goes to...Kevin Kolb. Jon Kitna wins the silver!

1. Kevin Kolb
2. Jon Kitna
3. Jim Sorgi
4. Colt Brennan

Set your TiVO. The Who Do You Think You Are? episode featuring Emmitt Smith will air tonight at 8PM (EST) on NBC.

Dallas Cowboys legend Emmitt Smith finds out his past rambles from rural Alabama to Virginia and has a few surprises for him. Turns out his great-great-grandfather helped start the New York Giants.

Keep up with Emmitt's charities on this site: Pat & Emmitt Smith Charities.