When it comes to free agent conerbacks for the Dallas Cowboys, all eyes are on Byron Jones. After Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper, Jones is the next guy in line for either a big contract, or to test the free agency waters. The general consensus seems to be the Cowboys are going to let Jones walk and concentrate on signing other free agents, including the aforementioned Prescott and Cooper.
The Cowboys have a number of cornerbacks currently under contract, but two out of their top four corners are free agents. Byron Jones is one, Anthony Brown is the other. Jones is going to get a huge deal somewhere, Brown is not. We’ve previously made the case for re-signing Brown to re-team with Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis. Those three would form a competent group of corners, and the Cowboys would be free to add another in either free agency or the draft, but wouldn’t need to spend a top resource on the position unless they really liked someone.
Brown has done his best work as a slot corner, and his versatility and his willingness to get involved in the run game makes him a valuable player to have on the roster. In fact, he was recently tabbed as one of the potential biggest bargains in free agency.
Brown’s physical nature allowed him to accumulate 172 tackles, eight for loss, three sacks, 32 pass breakups and four interceptions in 56 contests. With that said, there were some rough patches. The Cowboys benched him during the 2017 campaign, and his defensive snap count percentage declined in the following season. Because he’s more effective in the slot, teams may limit his role to nickel duties.
In Week 11 of the past season, Brown tore his triceps and landed on injured reserve. He finished with five pass breakups and zero interceptions through nine games, which included four starts.
As a solid slot cornerback for stretches through four campaigns, expect Brown to remain in that role going forward. Because of his season-ending injury and some coverage lapses during his time in Dallas, clubs may hesitate to offer him big money. Nevertheless, he could emerge as a top-tier inside cover man in the near future.
The Cowboys know Brown well, although with a new defensive coaching staff coming in, those past ties to the team may not mean as much. Still, Brown will not command a lot of money on the free agent market and has proven to be a versatile piece that you can generally count on for decent play.
Among some other defensive talent included in the ‘biggest potential bargain’ in free agency article are a defensive tackle, edge player and a safety. DT Jordan Phillips out of Buffalo is an interesting prospect. He’s a big man, 6’ 6” and 320 to 340 lbs. depending on which site you believe. Last year, he broke out with 9.5 sacks for the Bills, but they might not be able to re-sing him given the money they owe to other DTs and the recent drafting of Ed Oliver.
EDGE prospect Kamalei Correa from the Titans is another potential bargain, along with safety Sean Davis from Pittsburgh. Correa is a Boise State man, so that should immediately put him on the Cowboys radar. Davis wants to be a free safety and not a box safety, so we’d have to see how new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan views the roles of the safeties and what he thinks about Xavier Woods’s skill-set.