It’s important to understand that Dan Quinn has not publicly committed to running the scheme he ran in Seattle and Atlanta. However, I would expect Dallas to target players that fit his preferred system.
Though there were slight differences in the two schemes’ personnel that he ran at each of his last two stops, it was still a four-man “under” alignment.
On the back end, he ran the same Cover 1/Cover 3-heavy scheme that featured taller corners, a single-high safety with range and instincts, and a box safety that can help against the run.
While the cornerback positions are pretty interchangeable between the perimeter and the slot, the two safeties are not. It would appear Dallas is prepared to give Donovan Wilson the chance to start as the box safety, while the single-high safety is not yet on the roster.
Let’s take a look at some of the safety free agents the Cowboys could target.
Cowboys Safety Free Agent Targets
A former-Seahawk that had three solid years in Seattle following two of his best years in Tampa Bay. During that five-year stretch, he recorded 401 tackles, nine interceptions and knocked down 43 passes as versatile safety that fits best near the line of scrimmage. Bradley McDougald could be the veteran competition that Dallas is looking to pair with Wilson in a camp battle for the box spot. The two could even platoon at the position, with McDougald taking more of the snaps in obvious passing situations.
The first of two safeties that Dan Quinn employed in Atlanta. Damontae Kazee is a player that could compete to be the starter at the single-high position for his former head coach. Kazee put up an incredible 2018 campaign in that same role where he collected 82 tackles and an NFL-high seven interceptions. He wasn’t bad the next year either, but he only played four games in 2020 and might be looking for a one-year deal to return the form and earn the contract Kazee was on pace for early in his career. The four-year pro also has experience helping in the slot.
Keanu Neal was Dan Quinn’s box safety and started 30 games in his first two years, putting up a pair of seasons with at least 100 stops. Far less active in the passing game than his teammate, Kazee, Neal is more of an enforcer in the Kam Chancellor mold. Still, injuries ruined his 2018 and 2019 seasons before Neal returned to his 100-tackle form in 2020. Once again, he could be brought in as veteran competition for Wilson, giving Dallas two capable players at the position. A short-term deal could also help him prove healthy before he hits free agency again, considering he’s only 25 years old.