Former First-Round Pick Chosen as Free Agent Cowboys ‘Must Sign’

raiders karl joseph

Getty Oakland Raiders safety Karl Joseph.

The Dallas Cowboys, in their long-standing quest to upgrade at safety, won’t be given another bite at the Jamal Adams apple. And they probably will pass on bringing in 31-year-old Eric Berry.

Pro Football Focus proposes a Plan C: Karl Joseph, a “perfect match” and the one free-agent Dallas “must sign” this offseason.

Per the analytics outlet:

There were rumors surrounding the Cowboys wanting to add Joseph at the trade deadline last season. That move never materialized, but now they can add him without having to send any compensation to the Raiders. Xavier Woods has played well at free safety for the Cowboys, but they could use someone like Joseph at the team’s other safety position. Joseph is a player whose best role is in the box; he has picked up PFF grades between 67.6 and 74.5 in each of his four seasons with the Raiders, but he has earned a grade of 82.2 for his career when lined up in the box. They might not have pushed the button on the trade for Joseph, but it makes sense for Dallas to go after him in free agency.

Chosen by the then-Oakland Raiders in the first round (No. 14 overall) of the 2016 draft, Joseph made an instant impact with 60 combined tackles, six pass deflections and an interception across 12 appearances (nine starts). He was named to the Pro Football Writers Associations’ All-Rookie Team.

Altogether, through four years of NFL service, Joseph has collected 236 tackles, broke up 15 passes, pulled down four picks, and registered three sacks. His 2019 campaign ended prematurely due to a “substantial” foot ailment, which sent the former West Virginia stud to injured reserve.

Joseph, 26, is among the notable names in a free-agent safety class that features Devin McCourty, Malcolm Jenkins, Tony Jefferson, Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix, and incumbent Cowboys starter Jeff Heath, who’s reportedly drawing interest from multiple teams. estimates that Joseph could be had for $24.3 million over four years — an average annual salary of $6.092 million.

Dallas will take roughly $77 million of available salary cap room into the league’s signing period, which informally begins March 16 when a two-day legal tampering window opens, a prelude to the official March 18 start of free agency.

Speaking at last month’s Scouting Combine in Indianapolis, Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones was noncommittal on the team’s safety plan opposite Xavier Woods.

“I’m not going to speculate. That poor safety position. It gets shorted every time,” Jones said.

Should the club eschew veteran retreads, they’ll likely add to the secondary via April’s draft, where they hold the No. 17 overall selection. The Cowboys met with LSU safety Grant Delpit at the Combine, and Alabama’s Xavier McKinney, arguably the best safety in the 2020 rookie pool, was recently mocked to Dallas by draft expert Daniel Jeremiah.

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