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All Quiet On The Safety Front

Barry Church breaks up a pass in Cowboys practice Saturday

Despite being the free agency position of priority for the Cowboys, it appears things have gone all quiet on the safety front. While the Cowboys had to make sure to sign some of their own free agents, Doug Free and Marcus Spears, it was largely expected the Cowboys would have come to an agreement with a safety, or two, by now.

Having watched a lot of the best options join other teams, the Cowboys are benefiting from having a deep pool in which to choose. The top safety choices heading into free agency were Eric Weddle, San Diego; Dawan Landry, Baltimore; and Michael Huff, Oakland. This week saw Weddle and Huff sign with their respective teams, and Landry jump to Jacksonville. It seems that time is running out for the Cowboys to snatch up a top safety to fill at least one hole in the last line of defense.

For the Cowboys it isn’t as much about the safeties that were available as it is about how much they are signing for. Weddle signed with San Diego for a outrageous 5-year, $40 million deal that pays him $8 million a season. Weddle is a great player but that is a huge price tag. Houston’s signed Daniel Manning, who isn’t considered one of the top guys available, for $5 million a season. Landry signed a five year deal in Jacksonville and the details were not released. The Cowboys do not want to get into a situation where they overpay for a safety. While safety is a very important position to any defense, especially Rob Ryan’s, the Cowboys can’t jeopardize the future for right now. It was that thinking that has led them to the salary cap restraints they have now.

With those top players gone who should the Cowboys focus on now? Well, recent reports had the Cowboys in talks with Abram Elam who played for Ryan for two years in Cleveland. Elam would be a decent choice but it appears that his asking price is a little to high. Early on Sunday the talks with Elam and his agent broke down over price. The Cowboys seem content to wait him down a bit.

Other very good options are:

Dashon Goldson

1. Dashon Goldson, San Francisco – Goldson is a great blitzed and he has decent cover skills as well. He isn’t afraid to stick his head in there and make a tackle and he can ball hawk. He is a complete safety.

Brodney Pool

2. Brodney Pool, New York Jets – Pool is a decent option as well. A highly touted player out of college, Pool took a while to establish himself in Cleveland before landing in New York. He has good coverage skills and can quarterback a defence. He isn’t going to get you 10 interceptions, but he is solid.

Donte Whitner

3. Donte Whitner, Buffalo – Whitner is one of the better options available. He has great coverage skills due to his good speed and anticipation. He is a solid tackler and very smart player.

Abram Elam

4. Abram Elam, Cleveland – Elam is familiar with Ryan’s defense and even flourished in it the last two seasons. He can captain the group and get everyone into position. He isn’t the strongest safety available, but familiarity and experience in the system gives him a clear edge.

Currently, all of these guys are available and would make an immediate upgrade to the Cowboys secondary. The Cowboys are going with second-year men Barry Church and Akwasi Owusu-Ansah as their safeties and practice squad player Andrew Sendejo rotating in. It could end up being that the Cowboys will sign only one free agent and let their young guys battle it out for the other position. Eventually, you have to see what you have on your roster and this could be a great chance for Church or Owusu-Ansah.

Whatever the Cowboys decide to do, there is a big list of guys available to play the position. The longer they wait, the cheaper the prices, but also the slimmer the pickings.

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