Players Under Contract

 

Barry Church - Signed through 2016 - Dead Money Hit: $1.5 million


The Cowboys took a gamble when the resigned Church to a multi-year deal following his Achilles injury in 2012, but the struck gold getting a solid starting safety for a moderate cap hit.  Church is one of the Cowboys most consistent and reliable tacklers and he will be a ficture in the secondary for the next few years.

 

J.J. Wilcox - Signed through 2016 - Dead Money Hit: $440,000


Wilcox came on so strong early in the season that the Cowboys felt comfortable severing ties with veteran Will Allen during the season.  Wilcox flashed his athletic ability and some ball skills early in preseason, but that didn't materialize much in the regular season.  He is a raw talent, but has the tools to make plays on the ball in the air and lay the wood as a tackler, once he catches up mentally with his physical ability, he could be a good find if he doesn't keep the Cowboys waiting too long.

 

Jeff Heath - Restricted FA 2016 - Dead Money Hit: $1,330


Jeff Heath was thrust into a starting role due to some injuries to Wilcox midway through the season and he struggled as you would expect from an undrafted free agent.  Ideally Heath would fill the role of Danny McCray as the teams top special teams contributor, any extended playing time, would mean someone got hurt or became a huge disappointment.

 

Matt Johnson - Signed through 2015 - Dead Money Hit: $150,000


The Cowboys have been patient with their former 4th round pick from the 2012 draft opting to keep him stashed on injured reserve with hamstring injuries the last two seasons.  They must see something in him as they are not shy about cutting ties with failed draft picks.  The team needs him to contribute in some way this year or they probably need to move on.

 

Direction for the position


Spending valuable cap dollars on a free agent safety would be a luxury the Cowboys simply can't afford right now with their cap troubles.  They have gone the free agent route with not much success in Brodney Pool and Will Allen last year.  With their young talent, a big free agent signing would potentially stifle the development process.

As far as the draft is concerned, if the Cowboys value Alabama's Clinton-Dix or Louisville's Calvin Pryor higher than a player at a common need, they would have to consider it if no one else on their board meets the value of their pick.  After that it wouldn't make sense to add another mid round pick at safety, but Kiffen has some familiarity with USC's Dion Bailey or possibly take a shot on an injured player like Albama's Vinnie Sunseri, both players could be late rounders and special teams contributors.