IRVING, Texas -- When in doubt, connect a free agent to the Dallas Cowboys.
That’s what happened Monday when the Houston Texans released safety Danieal Manning. He plays a position of need for the Cowboys. He has experience. He played for Rod Marinelli in Chicago, albeit only for one year. He checks all of the boxes.
Except for the fact the Cowboys appear willing to be ready to go with their young safeties next to Barry Church, with J.J. Wilcox, last year’s third-round pick, Matt Johnson, a fourth-rounder in 2012 who has yet to play in a game, and Jeff Heath, an undrafted free agent who was forced to play a ton in 2013.
In the Cowboys' system, Church is listed as the free safety. He will line up in the box as the extra run defender. He will move around more. The other safety has to have more centerfield skills. Manning has 11 interceptions for his career.
There is also the fact he turns 32 in August.
The Cowboys went the veteran route in Will Allen last year and they didn’t get what they had wanted. (Or they cut him too soon because after his release the safety play suffered when Wilcox got hurt). As I mentioned in Monday’s blog on re-setting free agency, there is a downside to most of the players available and age is at the top of the list.
The Cowboys believe they will be better served to go with youth, and if need be they can add a safety in the summer if needed.