Cowboys CB Anthony Brown tears Achilles, here's who Dallas could turn to
With all free-agency eyes focused on Monday’s visit of wideout Odell Beckham, the Dallas Cowboys may have to consider lining up even more visits. During their 54-19 romp of the Indianpolis Colts, Dallas did have some bad news. Starting boundary corner Anthony Brown was lost for the season with a ruptured Achilles.
Team owner Jerry Jones confirmed the news post game. Brown was not having a great season, but his loss will be monumental for the Cowboys.
Dallas has been hesitant to put 2021 second-round pick Kelvin Joseph on the field for any extended time except for when Brown has been injured. Joseph was involved in a fight that ended up with murder charges being placed against two of his friends who he was riding with when the fatal shots were fired. That happened in the spring but it’s hardly the only reason he’s yet to earn more playing time.
Initially, he’ll get a chance to earn the starting gig opposite Trevon Diggs with rookie DaRon Bland continuing to play in place of Jourdan Lewis. Lewis was lost for the season six weeks ago with a Lisfranc injury to his foot. Now Dallas will be woefully inexperienced aside from Diggs.
Will that mean the club looks outside the organization to bring in some veteran depth? Here’s a look at some of the possibilities.
Wait and See with what they have
Dallas not only drafted Kelvin Joseph in the second round of 2021. They also turned around and with one of their three picks selected long Oregon State corner Nahshon Wright.
They could give both the opportunity to come in and play the boundary spot opposite Diggs.
Normally the Cowboys don’t ask their corners to travel, as Diggs lines up primarily on the right side (561 of 714 snaps entering Week 13). Wright had been his backup there in 2021, but this year Joseph has been the first man off the bench regardless of side as Wright has often been inactive.
Wright hasn’t been on the field for a single defensive snap in 2022, so it’s difficult to imagine Dallas putting him in a position to have a heavy load.
Joseph meanwhile had 87 snaps entering Sunday on top of his 164 from last season.
Slide Bland to the outside and as for the slot...
Dallas prefers to give their young corners one job, as mentioned in the previous section. Perhaps though, the special nature of Bland which has been apparent since training camp and resulted in two interceptions on Sunday night, would have Dan Quinn considering putting him on the boundary.
Joseph does have experience in the slot from college, though that hasn’t been seen since entering the league.
Bland was pretty remarkable on Sunday night, picking off two passes and deflecting two others. That included a two-point conversion attempt where Indianpolis was trying to tie the game in the third quarter. It was the positive play that sparked Dallas’ historic 33-point fourth quarter run.
A little bit of Izzy
One interesting outside-the-box consideration would be increased playing time for safety Israel Mukuamu. Mukuamu plays strong safety for the club, but was a corner in college at South Carolina. The second-year player has been on the field plenty so far in 2022 and has done a nice job covering tight ends.
The Cowboys have played three safeties consistently this season. On offense, they’ve run a bunch of four-tight-end formations. Perhaps there’s room for a four-safety defense on some percentage of snaps.
Practice Squad Call up
The Cowboys have just one corner on their practice squad, veteran Kendall Sheffield.
Sheffield was a fourth-round selection of the Atlanta Falcons during Dan Quinn’s time at the helm. He’s appeared in 38 games over the course of his career, including 20 starts but none since 2020. The former Ohio State Buckeye has zero career interceptions.
Free Agent Kevin King
King, 27, has been on the street all season by choice. He announced he was taking a year off to recover from injuries and COVID, but he’d be worth a call at this point after being benched by the Packers mid-season last year.
Originally drafted in the second round in 2017 by Mike McCarthy, the former Washington Husky had more-than-acceptable PFF grades during his final season in Green Bay. His career has certainly been a disappointment thus far, but perhaps the change of scenery and magic of Dan Quinn and Al Harris could make him serviceable down the stretch.
Free Agent A.J. Bouye
The pickings are admittedly slim, but Bouye did play top football in the league for a while. His last couple seasons bouncing around the league were down but 2021 did see a step up before his career was put on pause. 31, Bouye has 16 career interceptions. He primarily played boundary corner until the Carolina Panthers moved him to the slot in 2021.
His last five seasons were with dysfunctional organizations, so maybe there’s a chance if he’s stayed in shape that he could be of service to Dallas.
Other remaining free agents
- Malcolm Butler
- Ross Cockrell
- Donte Deayon
- Pierre Desir
- Desmond Trufant
- Bashaud Breeland
- Robert Alford
- mackensie Alexander
- Deandre Baker
Dallas could also look to poach a player off of another club’s practice squad and sign them to their 53-man roster.