It is pretty obvious to even the casual fan that the Cowboys need to improve their defensive secondary. And a consensus that Terrance Newman is getting older, slower and not likely to be with the Cowboys next year. It appears likely they will either find a CB in the draft or via free agency to fill his spot.
But what about the other CBs in the secondary?
Mike Jenkins is in his last year of a contract and while he had injuries last year, his play was fairly solid for the Cowboys considering the poor play around him. Pro Football Focus ranked him 40th out of 109 CBs last year. If healthy, I expect Jenkins will be back next year and I think he will play well as do most NFL players who are in the last year of their contract.
Remember that Jenkins suffered a shoulder injury and is having surgery on it. That means he will miss the off-season program and possibly will be eased into things in training camp. It remains to be seen how healthy he will be at the start of the season.
OK well we have Orlando right? Yes we have him whether we like it or not. Let me explain…
Orlando Scandrick struggled last season but since Jerry Jones gave him a big contract prior to the season, the Cowboys are kind of stuck with him for now. Orlando signed a six year contract for $28.2 million with $10 million guaranteed and then he went out, as most NFL players often do, and had himself a season that would make you feel like you got ripped off. Too often we see NFL players get their big pay day then not play up to that contract level the next year. It’s a reoccurring problem facing all NFL organizations.
Pro Football Focus has Scandrick ranked in the bottom 10 for completion percentage allowed. Last season 69% of passes thrown Scandrick’s way were completed. Scandrick does cover the slot receiver which means he will naturally be targeted more by QBs so you can say that he gets a tough assignment. But hey if you were the QB, wouldn’t you target a guy allowing 69% of passes to be completed? Just saying.
Do the Cowboys have any options since they signed Scandrick to a six year contract last year? The Cowboys could possibly look to bring in a CB to take over the tough assignment of covering the slot receiver while moving Scandrick to another area of the secondary. That would mean getting a free agent with enough experience and skill to do it. However top free agent CBs can cost you. Remember when Dallas looked at acquiring Asomugha before the season? But the Eagles showed up with more money and “cha ching” the Eagles had him and the Cowboys didn’t. It’s difficult to imagine a rookie capable of taking that spot. We have Scandrick and while he isn’t that great, he is all we have.
Hopefully the new secondary coach, Henderson, will be able to get the most out of Scandrick and elevate his performance next year. And that goes for the entire secondary for that matter.
The Cowboys will need Jenkins and Scandrick to step up their games since the guy replacing Newman will most likely be a rookie.
Wish I had better news, but the reality is fixing the Cowboys secondary will be tough to do in one offseason. Unfortunately it is going to take some time.