Cowboys 'To-Do List' Criticism, Part 4: 'Sign A Star Defensive Back'

Mike Fisher

FRISCO - The respected Bill Barnwell offers up a series at ESPN billed as being about "the first five things (NFL teams) should be thinking about as they prepare for the new league year, which begins on March 18.''

In reviewing it, we sense a "Dallas sucks'' tone as much as we do an analytical one. Maybe it's due to the fact that the 8-8 record from 2019 colors every single thing about the Cowboys in tones of disappointment. 

But we're not sure that's fair ... and so we tackle Barnwell's analysis of the Cowboys with our analysis of Bill's analysis ... all this week, a five-part series on Bill's five parts, which are about:

1) Lock Up Dak (read it here), 2) Transition-Tag Amari (read it here), 3) Build Around Tank (read it here), 4) Sign a Star DB and 5) Find a Tight End. Today, Part 4) Sign a Star DB ... 

Barnwell Job 4. Sign a star defensive back. He writes, "The Cowboys don't appear to have much interest in retaining cornerback Byron Jones, who is likely to get something close to top-of-the-market money in free agency. Safeties Darian Thompson and Jeff Heath are both free agents, and while the latter has seemingly been with the Cowboys since the Jimmy Johnson days, safety is due for a refresh.''

"The team seemed to signal that it wanted to make a significant investment at safety near the trade deadline when it was reportedly attempting to add Jamal Adams from the Jets, which would have likely cost a first-round pick. While I don't think the Adams negotiations are likely to open up again, I wonder if they're more likely to target safeties than cornerbacks this offseason.

"Just based on their new coaching staff, the Cowboys could target Vonn Bell of the Saints and former Packers standout Ha Ha Clinton-Dix. Picking No. 17 over in April's draft, though, they could also target LSU's Grant Delpit, who is one of the top safeties in this class. In his most recent mock draft, Todd McShay has them preferring Alabama safety Xavier McKinney. Either way, it wouldn't be shocking see the Cowboys looking toward safety in Round 1.''

FISH'S TAKE: This is the first time in the series that we've included all of Barnwell's work on the subject. And why? Because most of his views very much mirror what we believe the Cowboys' views to be. (Outside of the Jeff Heath snark, that is.) The Cowboys like Byron but not at a top-of-market price, they did indeed pursue Adams (and will again, if the Jets can't work things out) and recognize their need to consider a premium pick for secondary help.

In fairness to the Cowboys, they think they have a handful of developing standouts in the secondary led by Xavier Woods. But Barnwell is right here, because "developing standouts'' aren't "stars.'' Dallas would love one of the latter.