Cowboys Free Agency: Could Tre Boston Replace Xavier Woods?

The Cowboys have around $14 million in cap space but don't have a starting QB under contract, which will cause a pinch at other positions.
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Could recently-released free safety Tre Boston be a fit with the Dallas Cowboys secondary?

We say ... Yes.

The Cowboys’ pass defense was sometimes adequate  last year (at least compared to their run defense) but free safety Xavier Woods is a free agent. ... and in our judgment, he’s a run-of-the-mill guy.

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Woods plays the same position that Boston does, so it would stand to reason if Dallas thinks that either Boston is an upgrade or that they can't afford to bring back Woods, they could have interest in Boston.

Boston played almost 1,100 defensive snaps in 2020 with a pretty equal amount (429) played at free safety to in the box (424), per (PFF).

Boston is 6-1 and 205 pounds and was originally a fourth-round pick of the Panthers in 2014 out of North Carolina.

It's a bit concerning that he played closer to the line of scrimmage this past year as opposed to what he did under coach Ron Rivera in Carolina, but that could be attributed to scheme changes.

However, when you combine that with his release after just one year of a three-year deal - the questions are fair to ask: How much range does Boston have left? And if he’s best-off playing down, do the Cowboys - with Donovan Wilson in play - really need him?

Boston signed back with Carolina on a three-year, $18 million contract less than a year ago. He would have counted over $6 million on the cap in 2021.

PFF graded Boston as a 49.9/100 player in coverage in 2020. Boston was charged with allowing 36 receptions on 52 targets for 319 yards and three touchdowns.

Overall, Boston was graded as a 53.8/100 and only 58.1 against the run and missed 16 tackles per PFF.

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Woods might be considered a better coverage player than Boston at this point but as PFF notes, Boston probably isn't someone you should count on for deep single-high safety range.

So ... Can the Cowboys get by with a player like Boston at a lower cost than what Woods might cost? We very much disagree with the projections, but ... yeah, Woods moves forward with a projected four-year, $6.25 million cost (via and PFF.)

If that's the market, we think Boston is going to come in less than that because of age and other factors, which might lead to Dallas squeezing and losing Woods. ... but the Cowboys, in the end, making a move that might make them better.