IRVING, Texas –In the last few years, the Cowboys have seen several players in their "contract year" perform at the highest level, elevating themselves to a rather large payday, whether it was with the Cowboys or another team.
Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray did that in 2014, players such as Anthony Spencer have done the same in previous seasons.
For J.J. Wilcox, who enters the fourth and final year of his contract, his first order of business has to be getting into the starting lineup again.
The Cowboys haven't officially announced any changes to the depth chart, and likely won't until the start of training camp, but it does appear Byron Jones will make the switch from cornerback to safety, a move that could jeopardize Wilcox's starting spot.
Asked this week how it affects his approach, Wilcox was rather candid in his response.
"It doesn't. It's competition," Wilcox said. "It's the way the business goes. It's the way of the world. You have to go out and put your best foot down and maybe on film and every time the camera is on. So, like I said, there's competition all over the field, the strong safety spot, free safety spot. Still, you never know what might happen because of OTA's and camp. So, I'm going to do my best from the beginning from the start."
Even more importantly, Wilcox knows his best hasn't been enough so far. He knows there is room for improvement, but without making too many excuses, he cites his lack of defensive background as a reason for his continued development.
Wilcox played running back in college at Georgia Southern before moving to safety for his senior season.
[embeddedad0]In three years with the Cowboys, Wilcox has started 34 games, including 13 last year. He had one interception in 2015, and two the previous year. He finished seventh on the team with 69 tackles, seven behind Byron Jones (75), who was fifth.
"I think I have to get better. Like I said, I'm still learning the position," Wilcox said. "This is my fifth year playing it. I've been playing offense all of my life, so I think I have a lot of upside. I just have to keep learning the game, study hard on the film, just be more consistent in open-field tackling and be the best safety that I can be."
An area Wilcox doesn't need to improve is at the plate. The safety raised over $11,000 for The Salvation Army earlier this week at the Reliant Home Run Derby in Frisco. Wilcox won the individual portion of the event for the second year in a row, outslugging teammates such as Jason Witten, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin and Brandon Carr.
On the field, Wilcox can only hope he swings for the fences when OTAs, minicamp and training camp begins.