The Cowboys addressed a ton of needs through the draft. Wide receiver: check. Corner: check, twice. Pass rusher: check. Interior offensive line: check. Defensive line: check. Developmental quarterback: check.
One position that the team did not address — shockingly — is the safety position. Sure, the team inked Ha Ha Clinton-Dix to a one-year deal in free agency, but this front office has done anything but prioritize safeties over the years.
That said, there could be a talented player at the position available for trade, and the Cowboys should at the very least inquire. According to reports, the “Jets have engaged in trade talks” regarding Marcus Maye.
Manish Mehta of The New York Daily News is reporting the New York Jets are in talks about trading one of their talented safeties: Marcus Maye. As you recall, the Jets have discussed moving Jamal Adams — and the Cowboys were certainly interested — but the team has decided to move forward with their 2017 first-round selection.
Maye, 27, is a talented defensive back in his own right. He may not have the recognition or star power that Adams brings, but the former Florida Gators defender is a talented player that can upgrade a secondary.
The “other” New York Jets safety is coming off of a season in which he made 65 tackles and seven passes defended. While Adams plays closer to the box and is used to defend the run, cover tight ends, and get after the quarterback, Maye is a true free safety that plays well in coverage.
Big tip of the cap to the Jets' Marcus Maye. Two critical plays in the red zone. INT in the first half, 3rd down breakup that would've taken the lead with 45 seconds left. #Steelers pic.twitter.com/WqnpUw7fo0— Alex Kozora (@Alex_Kozora) December 23, 2019
So, why would the Jets want to move on? Well, New York added another safety through this year’s draft: Ashtyn Davis out of California in the third round. Davis likely would have been off of the board sooner if it were not for the fact that teams were unable to do medical checks on a groin injury that he suffered late in the 2019 season. He was unable to participate in the combine drills due to the injury, but the Jets appear confident that he will be back at full health.
With the Jets engaging in talks about moving Maye, the Cowboys should be a team that would be smart to inquire about a potential deal. Dallas added Clinton-Dix and has Xavier Woods in the secondary, and have reportedly considered moving a current corner over to safety. Adding Maye would help a lot of the problems at the position.
The 2017 second-rounder graded out favorably last season according to PFF.
Here is where Pro Football Focus rated Maye among safeties last season: 14th overall, 15th in run defense, 28th in tackling, and 14th in pass coverage.
The Cowboys will have additional draft capital for the 2021 draft — thanks to Byron Jones and Robert Quinn moving on in free agency — that could be attractive to a team such as the Jets. Would proposing a mid-round selection pique the Jets’ interest enough to get deal done?
A downside to a potential move for Maye is that his contract is set to expire, meaning this would be a one-year rental before extending the talented defensive back out of the Sunshine State. The way that Maye has performed during his young career may make the extension a little expensive, but the salary cap is expected to rise. Still, the Cowboys have not shown to prioritize this position enough to pay big money.
Stephen Jones has said that upgrading the roster is a year-round process that never ends. Making a call about Maye would be smart, as he would be a nice pairing alongside Woods in the back-end of the Cowboys defense should the price be right.