The Dallas Cowboys need to make sure they solidify their secondary this offseason, and starting with the safety position could play a massive impact on the mold of the entire unit as a whole. The safety position is arguably the most important position on the defense and one blown coverage could result in an easy touchdown that your offense would have to make up for.
The Cowboys are one of the several teams who need to locate a starting safety to add to their defensive unit, and luckily for them there is some great talent on the market. Dallas was rolling with Donovan Wilson and Xavier Woods for the majority of the 2020 season, and their lack of production isn’t going to cut it moving forward.
Dallas was rumored to have been interested in free agent safety Earl Thomas all season, but they failed to bring him on board. Now that the 2020 season has concluded, the Cowboys need to shift their focus on landing one of the top safeties on the market.
They obviously have other areas that need attention as well, but none stand out more than their secondary concerns. Adding a big name at safety could revamp the culture of their entire defense.
Let’s take a look at four intriguing options the Cowboys should look into at the safety position this offseason.
Justin Simmons, Denver Broncos
Justin Simmons is a 6-foot-2 free safety for the Denver Broncos who is currently projected to be the highest paid safety in the 2021 NFL offseason. Simmons, 27, was named to his first Pro Bowl in 2020 and will look to make a major impact for a new team.
Simmons has been vocal about wanting to remain in Denver if possible, but the Broncos were already forced to dish out far more money than they were hoping to just to retain some other guys. Simmons, in 2020, logged 96 tackles, three tackles for a loss, nine passes defended, and five interceptions for the Broncos.
He would fit like a glove in the Dallas defense and the two sides could have a great working relationship moving forward. If Simmons signs with the Cowboys, the secondary will be a much improved area for Dallas in 2021.
Marcus Williams, New Orleans Saints
Marcus Williams is a 6-foot-1 free safety for the New Orleans Saints, but due to his hefty price tag the Saints may be forced to let him walk. Williams is a ball hawking safety for the Saints’ secondary and he could thrive in the exact same role for the Dallas defense as well.
One of the biggest faults to note about the 2020 Cowboys was their inability to create extra possessions for their offense. Williams would be able to step in from day one and be a massive upgrade over Xavier Woods at free safety. Williams, in four seasons in the black and gold, logged 246 tackles, two forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, 30 passes defended, 13 interceptions, and one defensive touchdown.
Williams is slated to earn himself a large pay day this offseason and the Saints likely won’t be able to bring him back despite their large interest in doing so. The Cowboys would not only snag a major upgrade at their own safety position, but they would also be taking a great player away from one of the better teams in their conference as well.
Malik Hooker, Indianapolis Colts
Malik Hooker is a very good free safety for the Indianapolis Colts, but the Cowboys would certainly be taking a chance on the fourth-year man out of Ohio State. Hooker, while he’s been very productive when he’s been on the field, has never played more than 14 games in a season and is coming off a season in 2020 where he played just two games all year.
Hooker has an injury history about as long as a menu at The Cheesecake Factory, but even that won’t stop teams from going after the former Buckeye. Hooker, in his career, has logged 124 tackles, two fumbles recovered, 11 passes defended, and seven interceptions for the Colts.
The Colts declined his fifth-year option prior to the start of the 2020 season, so Hooker saw the writing on the wall before the season even began. The Cowboys could be a good team for him to wind up with and reunite with his former teammate Ezekiel Elliott, but the team would have to be willing to take a shot on the injury prone defensive back.
Anthony Harris, Minnesota Vikings
Anthony Harris, behind Justin Simmons, is the second most likely safety to score a major contract this offseason, and the Cowboys could be the team to give him the contract. Harris, a 6-foot-1 versatile defensive back, played more of a wing linebacker role for Minnesota this past season and will be looking to go to a team that will utilize his ball hawking abilities more.
Harris didn’t record an interception in 2020, but that doesn’t translate to the obvious ball skills he does have. Harris snagged six interceptions in 2019 and has proven to be a lethal player to try to throw against. In 2020, Harris recorded 104 tackles, two tackles for a loss, and broke up seven passes.
He would be a great versatile defensive back to add to their defense, and he could get himself a nice pay check for doing so. Harris has been grateful for his time in Minnesota, but it’s evident that he is ready to embrace a new team with open arms.