Dallas’ needs to trim the fat in the defensive backfield

As of the end of the 2023 season, the Dallas Cowboys have 16 players on the roster – including IR – that are listed as defensive backs.

Dallas’ needs to trim the fat in the defensive backfield

That’s way too many by a long shot — especially with Dan Quinn’s departure and a new defensive coordinator and philosophy inbound.

The good news is that five of them are unrestricted free agents in a few weeks. At least two are easy cuts.

The bad news? Figuring out how many – and which ones – of the remaining 14 is not going to be so easy.

The First Five

Stephon Gilmore, C.J. Goodwin, Noah Igbinoghene, Jayron Kearse, and Jourdan Lewis will all be free agents this year.

Personally, with the rise of DaRon Bland last year, I think Gilmore is expendable. He’s 33 and was getting beat a lot down the stretch.

Goodwin should also be an easy release as he is also 33 and will be coming off of IR in 2024.

Of the remaining three, I’m going to push to keep Igbinoghene and Kearse.

That sends Lewis off into free agency. He seemed to be more of a liability in the backfield as the season played out.

Of course, this is all assuming that Trevon Diggs comes back healthy and ready to go for 2024.

Speaking of which…

At The Corner

In addition to Diggs and Bland, the Cowboys have three other cornerbacks firmly set. Eric Scott, Nashon Wright, and Josh Butler are signed for the next one-to-three years.

This gives Dallas some stability at the position going forward.

Again, assuming Diggs comes back at 100%. If there is any doubt, Gilmore might be retained as insurance.

Sheldrick Redwine has been hanging around on the practice squad. He’ll like stay there one more year.

Safety Speaking

In addition to Kearse, Dallas has five other safety options – including one that moonlights at linebacker.

Markquese Bell’s ability to play both positions all but secures his place on the team.

The remaining four players are also safe from being cut or traded.

Donovan Wilson, Juanyeh Thomas, Israel Mukuamu, and Malik Hooker are all under 30 years old and have contributed to the Cowboys efforts in recent years.

Free Agent Market

At the end of the day, the defensive backfield might be the strongest room at The Star.

In fact, Dallas could – and should – cut a few and not replace them on the roster at the same position.

But let’s say we want to add at least two free agents to the room. Okay, I have two in mind and they played for the same team in 2023.

I’m looking at the Colts and their free agents. Cornerback Kenny Moore II and safety Julian Blackmon catch my eye.

Of course, if I needed to “go all in” as Jerry Jones has recently said, I might go after just one player: safety Antoine Winfield Jr.

I can’t see Tampa Bay not keeping him. But I’d make them earn it.

And if we got him?

I’m really liking our defensive backfield a whole lot.

Top Draft Target

Let’s say we don’t land a big name in free agency – or we do without breaking the bank – there is one player in the draft I’d love to see in a Cowboys uniform in 2024.

Miami safety Kamren Kinchens. He has a knack for making plays in the big moments.

And I want playmakers on both sides of the ball in 2024.

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