The Cowboys will look different on the defensive side of the ball in 2017.
When the Dallas Cowboys entered the 2017 free agency, they knew that they would lose at least a couple of their secondary free agents. With J.J. Wilcox, Barry Church, Morris Claiborne, and Brandon Carr all entering free agency, the Cowboys were unlikely to re-sign more than one or two of them back for 2017 .
During the first week of the free agency period, not only did the Cowboys lose multiple players of their secondary, they lost all four of them to opposing teams. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers signed Wilcox, the Jacksonville Jaguars signed Church, the New York Jets signed Claiborne, and the Baltimore Ravens signed Carr. With the money each player received, the Cowboys were never going to get involved to bring any of them back.
Now the Cowboys enter a new era in the Cowboys secondary. Last season was a success in terms of their regular season record, but the playoff loss proved that they had to do something to improve their pass defense. It wasn’t all about the secondary, they also have a need for pass rushers as well. However, with the losses in free agency in the secondary, Dallas finds themselves in a rebuild mode at that level of the defense.
Some may feel that the biggest need in their secondary is at cornerback with the lack of experience there and the injury issues with Orlando Scandrick. That might be true in term of inexperience, but the losses of Wilcox and Church are much bigger. Safety becomes a must need in the draft and maybe in free agency to bring a veteran in. Cornerback is more of a want/need, with the Anthony Brown’s upside and if Scandrick can stay healthy, they have the ability to be average at the that position.
With Byron Jones, Kavon Frazier, and Jeff Heath, the Cowboys find that they are in a must need for some safety help. The trio have a combined 103 games played between them. Jones is the only one of the three that has much experience as a starter. Heath has had some nice moments as a Cowboy and Frazier might carry some nice possibilities following his rookies season in the league, but by no means would I feel comfortable without some help in the defensive backfield.
Should the Cowboys look at safety in the first round, or stick with the edge rush route many feel they will go in April?