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So you want an Anthony Brown upgrade? Examining the Cowboys free agent options

A poor start to the 2021 season has Anthony Brown on the hot seat.

Dallas Cowboys v Tampa Bay Buccaneers Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

It was pretty obvious the Dallas Cowboys remain a work in progress on the defensive side of the ball by the way they played in the season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. They did show some encouraging signs they will be better from what they were a season ago, however, there are areas they still need to improve.

One such area that needs the most improvement is without a doubt at cornerback. Trevon Diggs played very much like the up-and-coming star many believe him to be, but other than that they looked like the weak link of Dallas’ defense. One player in particular who was used and abused early and often by Tom Brady was Anthony Brown.

Throughout his career with the Cowboys No. 30 has been at his best playing out of the slot, but has now been handed the tough task of playing on the outside. Sadly, he was victimized in the season opener, and as such, may have been exposed as being the weak link in Dallas’ secondary to the rest of the league. Because of that a lot of fans are calling for an upgrade.

The Dallas Cowboys now have to determine whether or not Anthony Brown is indeed up to the job of playing opposite Trevon Diggs this year or if they should try to find an upgrade. This is a decision they need to come to sooner rather than later, but by no means an easy one. Whether it’s via trade or free agent addition, they need to explore all options.

Since there’s really no way of knowing who may be available via trade, we will look at some of the available free agent cornerbacks the Dallas Cowboys could possibly show an interest in.

  • Gareon Conley - Former first-round pick (24th overall) by the Raiders in 2017. He’s just 26 years old and has started 26 games in his career with both the Raiders and Texans. He is coming off a pair of ankle surgery’s in 2020, but if healthy, could be an upgrade.
  • D.J. Hayden - Another former first-round pick (2013) by the Raiders. He’s started 41 career games with three different teams in his eight year career. He’s never quite lived up to his draft status, but the 31-year-old could possibly be an upgrade in Dallas.
  • Quinton Dunbar - Dunbar is a familiar face in the NFC East after spending the bulk of his career in Washington. His size (6’2”, 200) and familiarity within the division makes him a logical option, but he’s coming off a season-ending knee injury that required surgery.
  • Rasul Douglas - Another familiar face in the NFC East. Former third-round pick by the Eagles (2017). Started 18 games for them in three seasons at both left and right CB and another 11 for the Panthers last year. His size (6’2”, 209) and familiarity in the division is intriguing.
  • Pierre Desir - The seven-year veteran has started a total of 44 career games for five different teams so far. He was recently signed to the Buccaneers practice squad, but the 31-year-old would and probably still could be someone the Cowboys are keeping an eye on.
  • Cordrea Tankersley - The 6’1”, 200 pounds CB is a former third-round pick by the Miami Dolphins in 2017. The 27-year-old has only started 12 games in his three-year career thus far, but as of yet hasn’t found a home in the NFL. Maybe that team is the Dallas Cowboys.
  • Blidi Wreh-Wilson - Former third-round pick by the Tennessee Titans in 2013. The 31-year-old has only started 17 career games in his career, but some of those came with the Atlanta Falcons under then head coach Dan Quinn. Could a reunion be in order?
  • Holton Hill - The 24-year-old started six games in three years with the Minnesota Vikings. He has intriguing size (6’2”, 196) and speed (4.49), which is probably why the Cowboys had him in for a workout earlier this offseason. A second look could be in the works.

Then there are the guys with off-the-field issues to deal with.

  • Richard Sherman - At 33-years-old the five-time Pro Bowler and three-time first-team All-Pro remains the top free agent CB on the market. His size/length (6’3”, 195) and familiarity in Dan Quinn’s system makes him arguably the perfect plug-and-play target for the Cowboys. His domestic violence arrest this offseason complicates matters.
  • Jeff Gladney - Minnesota released Gladney this offseason after being indicted with domestic violence, despite being their 2020 first-round pick (31st overall). Dallas showed an interested him coming out of TCU, but his legal issues likely changes that right now.

Do you see anybody who would be a clear upgrade over Anthony Brown?

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