If the season started tomorrow, the Dallas Cowboys would have very little to show off in its secondary. Trevon Diggs would likely line up as the team’s #1 cornerback, but other than that, few things would be certain. While some would say bringing back Jourdan Lewis on a three-year deal provides some clarity, I’d say it raises a few questions as well.
Chidobe Awuzie has signed with the Cincinnati Bengals and Xavier Woods remains a free agent. At cornerback, the Cowboys’ current projected starters at cornerback would likely be Diggs, Lewis, and Anthony Brown. We also know Donovan Wilson will be lined up at safety but we don’t really know where he’ll be lining up. Will he be playing in the box? Or will he line up at free safety, one of the most important positions in Dan Quinn’s scheme?
Jourdan Lewis’s career in Dallas has had its ups and downs. After a strong rookie season in 2017, Lewis didn’t get much of a chance to play for Kris Richard’s secondary. Instead, the Dallas Cowboys opted for more prototypical-sized cornerbacks. Lewis, at 5’10, didn’t really fit the mold.
Yet Dan Quinn, also an architect for Seattle’s Legion of Boom, seemingly doesn’t mind Jourdan’s height. According to Mike Fisher, Lewis’s signing should be seen as a slot CB signing, but some have speculated about Lewis potentially changing positions to safety. At the very least, the Cowboys should explore playing him at safety in some packages.
I think Jourdan Lewis will remain in the slot, but I'd love if Quinn & Co. experimented with him at safety.
— John Owning (@JohnOwning) March 17, 2021
But if Lewis is set to play in the slot, it likely means Anthony Brown is staying in the outside, where he played most of the time in 2020. According to PFF, Brown played 87 snaps in the slot compared to 388 wide. Brown has the ability to play in the slot, though. If the Cowboys decide to explore with Lewis at safety, Brown gives him flexibility.
Anthony Brown doesn’t seem to be a potential cap casualty. If the Cowboys cut him, they’d save $2.75M in cap space while eating $3M in dead money. And even if they designate him as a Post-June 1st cut to save $4.25M, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. After all, the Dallas Cowboys don’t only need to improve their starters at cornerback, but their depth.
Although Jourdan Lewis could prove to be a wise re-signing from the Cowboys, he won’t define the secondary’s performance in 2021. The Dallas Cowboys need to pursue other, better veterans in the next wave of free agents. With $15M in available cap space, they can’t wait until the NFL Draft to acquire a cornerback and/or safety.
After a quiet start to free agency, the Dallas Cowboys need to make some much-needed additions on defense. Unlike last year, though, they need to make them count.
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