Cowboys 2023 offseason information: What they need to do at cornerback
The staff battled by means of some accidents final yr at cornerback, however how ought to they guarantee they’re as much as the duty in 2023?
The Dallas Cowboys have tried every kind of various issues on the cornerback place over the past decade. Again in 2012, they hit it heavy by not solely signing free agent Brandon Carr to a five-year, $50 million deal (that was an enormous deal again then) however then packaging each their first- and second-round picks to commerce as much as choose LSU star cornerback Morris Claiborne. Evidently, issues didn’t go in accordance with plan.
The staff reworked their group a couple of years later as they drafted what would finally be a brand new beginning cornerback group that was chosen in a span of three straight drafts. This included Byron Jones (2015), Anthony Brown (2016), Chidobe Awuzie (2017), and Jourdan Lewis (2017). This group turned out to be a lot better. In actual fact, the beginning group of Jones and Awuzie (on the surface) plus Brown (within the slot) finished as three of the top four tight window corners in the league in 2018. That’s fairly good.
Whereas their contributions had been valued throughout their rookie offers, the entrance workplace didn’t open up their wallets to hold on to the dearer guys. Jones and Awuzie bought paid properly in free company as they signed with AFC groups whereas the staff retained each Brown and Lewis for an excellent value.
The Cowboys hit on Trevon Diggs within the 2020 draft but in addition missed with picks like Michael Jackson (2019), Reggie Robinson II (2020), Kelvin Joseph (2021), and Nashon Wright (2021). For the final two seasons, they’ve rolled with the staff of Diggs/Brown/Lewis which did effectively in 2021 because the staff led the league with 26 whole interceptions. However then each Brown and Lewis bought harm final yr inflicting the staff to scramble as they discovered that Joseph, Wright, and an assortment of veteran cornerback signings didn’t pan out. They did discover a good participant in fifth-round choose DaRon Bland from final yr’s draft who completed with a team-high 5 picks in 2022.
Brown is now a free agent and the 2021 draft class is smelling like a bust, so the staff might want to discover some solutions to spherical out the cornerback group this offseason. Over the previous week, we’ve explored every place group and put collectively a information sheet that to date consists of…
At this time, we’ll take a more in-depth have a look at what the Cowboys’ entrance workplace ought to do at cornerback.
WHAT WE KNOW
Brown is an unrestricted free agent who’s coming off an Achilles damage. He’s much more serviceable on the surface than people give him credit score for, which might sometimes equal a pleasant paycheck on the open market, however the damage will doubtless lead to a lower-cost shorter-term contract for the veteran nook.
Lewis has one other yr left on his three-year deal. He’ll rely $5.8 million towards the cap this season, however the staff may save $4.7 million if he’s launched with solely a $1.1 million useless cash hit.
Diggs is getting into the ultimate yr of his rookie contract, which comes with a pleasant elevate as a result of his fourth-year efficiency escalator. His base wage goes from $1.4 million to $4.3 million because of incomes a spot within the Pro Bowl. He’s eligible for a contract extension this yr if the Cowboys wish to keep forward of the sport relatively than wait till he hits free company subsequent offseason.
The Cowboys discovered one thing in DaRon Bland. He bought a chance final yr after Lewis bought harm and now has a agency maintain on the slot nook job. He did play some on the surface final yr, and whereas it’s not his robust go well with, he can play that spot in a pinch.
WHAT WE DON’T KNOW
How does this staff really feel about their 2021 Day 2 picks of Joseph and Wright? Neither has regarded good after two years within the league. They’ve performed sparingly however had been pressured into motion final yr when Brown went down. Each bought their probability final yr, first Joseph, then Wright. How lengthy will the staff proceed to provide these guys probabilities or will lastly be time to chop their losses?
What’s Brown’s restoration timetable? Will he be able to go by the beginning of the brand new season, and in that case, simply how efficient can he be? And at last, what value will he command in free company?
WHAT THE COWBOYS SHOULD DO
The staff has two-thirds of their beginning unit intact with Diggs and Bland. Diggs’ extension is coming quickly and Bland is below participant management for the following three years. That’s a pleasant begin. They nonetheless want some ready our bodies as we noticed them battle to search out that third man this season. In the event that they really feel like Brown would be capable of contribute on some degree and may get him on an inexpensive, prove-it deal, bringing him again may give them a savvy veteran within the brief time period to assist bridge the event of a younger participant.
And talking of a younger participant, there are a dozen school corners ranked within the high 100 of this new draft class. The Cowboys would possibly be capable of discover one other high quality starter inside the first couple of days of the draft.
The staff could have a tricky choice about what to do with Lewis. Whereas he’s been a viable slot piece and provides them depth, his 2023 value isn’t value it. He doesn’t fare effectively on the surface and is type-cast as a slot nook solely. They might be higher served to only launch him and save the cap house, particularly since Bland is holding down the slot nook job now. It’s additionally value noting that hybrid security/nook Israel Mukuamu may also play the slot additional limiting Lewis’ total worth to the staff.
One other powerful choice shall be what to do with the 2021 Day 2 boys. Whereas each are tremendous low-cost, it’s onerous seeing the staff proceed to save lots of a roster spot for them if they don’t seem to be exhibiting progress. It’s a detailed battle, however I’ve Wright getting yet another probability and Joseph getting a pink slip.