The Dallas Cowboys have done what was predictable in free agency so far. They have nibbled around the edges and picked up some role players and brought back a few of their own, but have yet to really start playing the game. That should change soon as bigger name players start seeing their options dwindle and prices start to come down.
One position that needs some help that has yet to see any movement from Dallas is safety. It is a position that the Cowboys have had an extremely hard time filling as they have cycled through low-round draft picks and UDFAs to staff the position. They may have struck gold with sixth-round pick Donovan Wilson who came on strong in 2020, and should be in the lead to be the starter as the “box safety” in Dan Quinn’s new defensive scheme. Besides Wilson, the cupboard is bare.
Xavier Woods is still a free agent and the team could turn to him once again to man the centerfield, free safety position. Woods has never been able to reach a level where he has locked down the position for the future and may even be better suited to play closer to the line. Besides, if the Cowboys are looking for a new safety or two, this is a very good year to go shopping in free agency. The market is flooded with elite to serviceable players at the position, so the Cowboys ability to go bargain shopping should be enhanced.
Here is a list of names that are available (available at the time of writing this article, that could change quickly), although some might fix the “box safety” definition. Still, the Cowboys need a starter and depth at safety.
Anthony Harris - This is the big name still left and the guy likely to draw the biggest contract. Harris could fit the role of fee safety, but is likely out of the price range the Cowboys would want to pay, even at this point in free agency.
Kareem Jackson - Jackson made the conversion from corner to safety and has skills to line up all over, and even has shown the ability to play the run. He is getting up there in age at 33 when the season starts.
Malik Hooker - Extremely talented but constantly injured, Hooker is a guy who will likely have to take a low value contract. His skill-set seems ideal for a single-high scheme, but that injury history is very worrisome.
Keanu Neal - One of Quinn’s former players, Neal is suited to play strong safety and would be in competition with Wilson for playing time. He could also be a versatile “coverage” linebacker in nickel/dime sets.
Jaquiski Tartt - A versatile safety that has consistency issues. He can do a lot of things but has periods of highs and lows.
Duron Harmon - A coverage safety who has some great years but struggled, like many players, during his recent time in Detroit. A change of scenery could reinvigorate his career.
Tre Boston - A free safety that is continually overlooked even though he generally puts up strong performances
Ricardo Allen - Another former Quinn player, he may have been playing out of position as a free safety and could be a better fit as a box safety.
Damontae Kazee - The final of three Quinn safeties from Atlanta on the market, Kazee has reportedly already drawn interest from the Cowboys and will visit the team next week. There is a strong possibility he is one of the Cowboys moves at safety.
Earl Thomas - Yes, he is still available after not getting a contract after his messy divorce from the Ravens.
This not an exhaustive list of safeties available (and players could some off this list by the time you read it, free agency moves fast). As mentioned, it is a bumper crop of safeties in the 2021 free agency market. The Cowboys should absolutely make a couple of moves to shore up the position before looking at adding a young player somewhere in the draft.
Who would you like for the Cowboys to sign?