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Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Free-agency series: Defensive backs

By Calvin Watkins

We continue our 10-part series breaking down the Cowboys' free-agency needs, position-by-position:

Defensive backs


Who's on the roster: CB-Brandon Carr, S-Barry Church, CB-Morris Claiborne, S-Matt Johnson, CB-Sterling Moore, S-Micah Pellerin, CB-Orlando Scandrick, CB-Brandon Underwood.

Analysis: The cornerback spot is secure with Carr, Claiborne and Scandrick manning the top spots. The safety position got thin with the release of Gerald Sensabaugh. However, the Cowboys return Church, but he's coming off a torn Achilles injury. Johnson missed the entire 2012 season with a hamstring injury and there are high hopes for his ability to play in 2013.

Cowboys free agents: RFA: S-Danny McCray; UFA: CB-Michael Coe, S-Eric Frampton, CB-Mike Jenkins and S-Charlie Peprah.

NFL free agents of interest: CB-Stanford Routt, S-Ronde Barber, S-William Moore and S-O.J. Atogwe.

Need meter: 3. The Cowboys don't have much money to play with in free agency. And with the money and draft picks invested at corner in the last two seasons, they won't go after a highly-regarded corner such as Quentin Jammer. However, safety could be a different story. Barber has played in the Tampa 2 system before and might be an interesting pickup. There was interest in Atogwe a few years ago; might the Cowboys offer him a two-year deal to play strong safety? The Cowboys will bring McCray back as a backup safety/special teams ace. Peprah and Frampton, both in-season pickups in 2012, are two valued players whom the Cowboys should discuss keeping. If that happens, it's doubtful the Cowboys go outside to sign a safety.