IRVING, Texas -- With at least some positive drips of news from the talks between the NFL and the association formerly known as the NFLPA regarding the collective bargaining agreement, is it too much of a risk to talk about (gulp) actual football matters?
Is it like talking about a no-hitter in the sixth inning? You don’t want to jinx anything, right?
Well, if it all falls apart in the next few days, blame me because at some point the Cowboys are going to have to address the safety position.
Gerald Sensabaugh will be an unrestricted free agent. Alan Ball is moving back to cornerback. That leaves Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, Danny McCray, Barry Church and Andrew Sendejo battling for a job. By the way, Sendejo earned some praise of his work in the player-run practices last month.
The Cowboys would like to keep Sensabaugh at a sensible price. They need to find another safety in free agency. Michael Huff, the Irving native, has been mentioned the most as a target. San Diego’s Eric Weddle has been bandied about, too.
My choice: Abram Elam.
The Cowboys made a mistake in 2007 by cutting Elam. Wade Phillips liked Courtney Brown’s athleticism better. The only problem with that thought then and now is that Brown, a seventh-round pick that year, didn’t like to tackle. Elam has gone on to start 48 games for the New York Jets and Cleveland over the last four years.
Elam, who excelled on special teams with the Cowboys in ’06 and made some plays in part-time action as a safety, has a more-recent history with new coordinator Rob Ryan. Huff spent three years with Ryan in Oakland and in 2008 he finished with 28 tackles in seven starts. Huff played much better the last two years but I believe Elam should be the choice.
Here’s the statistical breakdown from 2010 on Elam, Huff and Weddle based on the stats provided by each team’s staffs, not the press box stats:
Elam (15 starts) – 77 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions, 10 pass deflections, two forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries
Huff (16 starts) – 84 tackles, four sacks, three interceptions, seven pass deflections, three forced fumbles
Weddle (16 starts) – 72 tackles, 0.5 sacks, two interceptions, 10 pass deflections