Nobody is sure exactly when free agency will begin this year, much less what it eventually will look like. One popular assumption has been that even without a new CBA, the league could resume play under the 2010 rules, which would mean free agency after six years.
Lately though, reports have cropped up that the NFL is working on possible 2011 free agency rules that will not necessarily replicate the 2010 rules. This could put four- and five-year veterans in the mix for the Cowboys.
Josh Ellis from the mothership started a series of articles titled "FA Watch" in which he looks at a number of free agents who could wind up in Dallas. He kicks off the series by looking at the Ravens' Dawan Landry, who could be a candidate for the Cowboys at the strong safety spot.
Landry is a five-year veteran, and the Ravens have not tendered him, so he could be in the mix to replace Cowboys strong safety Gerald Sensabaugh, who is himself also a free agent, and whom the Cowboys have allowed to "test the free agency waters".
According to ProFootballFocus.com, with a grade of +10.5 the 28-year old Landry graded out as the second best strong safety in 2010, behind only the Eagles' Quintin Mikell who came in at +17.0, but turned 30 last year (for a full breakdown of safety free agent grades, look at the bottom of this post).
But Gerald Sensabaugh was no slouch last year either. Sensi graded out as the 10th best safety overall with a grade of +7.4, and he had five interceptions to Landry's zero. Then again, Landry did have four in 2009. The main difference between the two is that Landry is much more of an in-the-box, run-stuffing safety, recording 193 tackles over the last two years to Sensabaugh's 131. Keep in mind though, when you have Ed Reed patrolling the secondary in your back, as a strong safety you probably don't need to worry all that much about pass coverage. Not really a luxury that Sensabaugh enjoyed in the Cowboys' secondary.
Josh Ellis also points out that the Ravens have a history of allowing Ed Reed’s backfield partners to test the free-agent market (Will Demps after the 2005 season and Jim Leonhard after 2008), so Landry might well be in the mix for the Cowboys.
But should the Cowboys go after him? While the grass often looks greener on the other side of the free agency fence, Sensabaugh has been a very solid player for the Cowboys, and his biggest knock may be some unfavorable PR with his name to it. But a Landry in a Cowboys uniform also has a nice ring to it, no?