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Free Agent Safeties, WRs Still Remain As List Dwindles
IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys sat by idly this week while NFC East foes stacked new talent via free agency.
With wide receiver DeSean Jackson going to the Redskins on Tuesday and defensive end Robert Ayers going to the Giants on Wednesday, the free-agent market has slowly dwindled down to just a few major names.
The Cowboys, with more than $5 million remaining in cap space and another $5 million set to kick on June 1 after Miles Austin’s release, have the money to grab another player or two or three that they see fit before the season begins.
But it doesn’t appear they’re willing to overpay prized free agents this year, and it would seem if they were going to make a splash they would’ve done it already when more players existed in free agency. It’s possible, and perhaps likely, the Cowboys don’t do much the rest of the way in free agency and save up to give their own players extensions.
Defensive end Anthony Spencer’s name will continue to float around as long as he remains in free agency and remains a possibility to sign, particularly while he works out in Dallas to rehab his surgically repaired knee. Defensive lineman Jarius Wynn could also be a possibility to return, particularly considering how the market for defensive linemen has depleted considerably.
Safety Danieal Manning had a link to Rod Marinelli, but the Bengals scooped him up Thursday. The Cowboys could also kick the tires on defensive tackle Landon Cohen again, although they waived the defensive tackle in September last season.
The draft could dictate a lot of these moves.
If the Cowboys do decide to make another notable move after the major signing of Henry Melton, many of the top free agents remaining are safeties and receivers. Here’s a look at a few of them who could go quickly.
Major Wright – The Marinelli ties continue here with Wright, who spent three years with the defensive coordinator in Chicago. Unlike the last two veteran safeties on this list, Wright’s just beginning his NFL career. He’s had at least two picks each of the last three years and at 25 years old could still be progressing.
Thomas Decoud – The former Falcons safety has demonstrated his durability and longevity by playing and starting in at least 15 games each of the last five seasons. He had 10 combined interceptions in 2011 and 2012 before going without a pick last year.
Mike Adams – The veteran’s spent at least two years of his 10-year career with three different teams, most recently with the Broncos. He’s played in at least 14 games each of the past nine years. Adams has only picked off one pass the last two years, but he’s got more passes defended the last two years than ever before in his career.
Santonio Holmes – The receiver’s numbers dipped considerably the last two seasons for a struggling Jets offense. It’s possible he needs some fresh scenery in a more high-powered offense and can get going again. The real issue has been staying on the field, as Holmes has only played in 15 games the last two years.
Nate Burleson – He’s got a ton of familiarity with Scott Linehan, having been with the Lions the last four seasons. The veteran receiver’s also only played in 15 games the last two seasons but averaged more than four catches per game each of the last two years.
Jason Avant – It seems more NFC East players are staying within the division on rival teams more and more this offseason. Avant’s spent all eight previous seasons in Philadelphia and is used to filling in as the third receiver, as he’d have to do in Dallas. He’s extremely durable, having played all 16 games four of the past five seasons, totaling between 440 and 700 yards each season during that span.