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Cowboys Like Their Safety & Tight End Talent, But Always Keep Options Open

GRAPEVINE, Texas– As the Cowboys get set for rookie minicamp this week and organized team activities at the end of the month, two roster positions in particular might appear to be remaining needs based on numbers and experience:

Tight end and safety.

The Cowboys aren't really calling either spot a need at this point in the spring, but as usual, they never rule out the chance of adding a veteran if the right opportunity presented itself. That's just good business.

At tight end, the retirement of 11-time Pro Bowler Jason Witten and reliable reserve James Hanna leaves the roster with four players with 9 combined career catches, all by fourth-year pro Geoff Swaim.

However, Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones said he currently doesn't see the team adding another veteran to the group that includes Swaim, Blake Jarwin, Rico Gathers and fourth-round pick Dalton Schultz.

"I like the opportunity, the freshness of the group," Jones said at the Annual Golf Classic at Cowboys Golf Club. "I like the opportunity of the competition. We're familiar. We've got new guys as far as our group is concerned in there. The makeup of that creates an atmosphere that I think could enhance how we play tight end."

Jones did add, "I reserve the right to change my mind."

Similarly at safety, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said the team could "absolutely" add to that group at some point after not selecting one in the draft.

Jeff Heath returns at strong safety, but last year's free safety starter Byron Jones is making the transition back to corner under new passing game coordinator/defensive backs coach Kris Richard.

Two 2017 draft picks, Chidobe Awuzie and Xavier Woods, took corner and safety snaps last year.

"We don't ever quit looking in terms of player acquisition," Stephen Jones said. "One of the things that is unique is, when you have players with versatility, it probably makes you feel a little better. We've talked about Byron and Chidobe. We certainly want them honed in on what we want them to do this year. But at the same time, if we saw the right fit — whether at the free safety position or even the strong safety position, because we know Jeff's got flexibility, as well — we'll certainly look at that.

"We feel like, overall, we're very comfortable and confident where we are. But there's still a lot of work to do between now and the start of the season."

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