Why the Dallas Cowboys made a mistake not targeting Landon Collins
In 2018, the Dallas Cowboys found a way to squeeze into the playoffs with a 10-6 record, but they were eliminated by the Los Angeles Rams in the divisional round.
Still, there are many things to be happy about in Jerry World nowadays. The Cowboys have their quarterback of the future in Dak Prescott, arguably the best running back in the league with Ezekiel Elliott, and they found the exact weapon they needed to take their offense over the top with Amari Cooper. Dallas’ offense finished 22nd in the NFL in yards per game (YPG) with 343.8, whereas the defense finished seventh in the NFL, allowing 329.2 YPG.
Good year to need a safety
Still, one of the main areas of concern for the Cowboys is in the secondary. Byron Jones moved back to cornerback to fill a significant hole, but he left another glaring void at the safety position.
Luckily for Dallas, there are a plethora of safeties on the open market, such as Tyrann Mathieu (now with the Kansas City Chiefs), Lamarcus Joyner, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, as well as the player we all thought was a shoe-in to be a Dallas Cowboy, Earl Thomas. After a video surfaced of Thomas chasing down Cowboys coach Jason Garrett into the team’s locker room in December of 2017 exclaiming “Come get me!”, trade talks heated up before eventually falling through.
Now, there are young and inexpensive safeties on the open market, which could be a lot more appealing than signing Thomas, who is entering the back end of his career and will certainly have the highest asking price out of all the safeties.
The focus will be on keeping Demarcus Lawrence this offseason, but it will still be crucial for the Cowboys to compliment their defensive juggernaut with another player of his caliber on the backend. That becomes even more pivotal if he walks in free agency.
Landon Collins has put together a solid four-year stretch to begin his career with the New York Giants, logging eight interceptions and 32 pass deflections while earning Defensive Player of the Year consideration in 2016. Not to mention he is only 25 years old.
On February 20th, Giants beat writer Paul Schwartz reported that Collins’ locker was indeed not cleaned out, which conflicted with other reports saying that it had already been cleaned out. Twenty minutes after Schwartz reported this, Collins replied “The stuff in that locker that I have left I do not need”. This appears to be the nail in the coffin for his playings days in New York.
It is clear that there was tension in the air (Collins is reportedly upset by the lack of contract discussions), and if given the chance to play against his former team twice a year, it’s likely he would be intrigued by that incentive alone. Unfortunately for Dallas, he has done exactly that, except with another rival in the Washington Redskins.
Collins’ ability to create turnovers, as well as lead a defense overall, should have left the Cowboys licking their chops when free agency began. Instead, they didn’t pull the trigger, and now they’ll still have to matchup against Collins twice a year.