The Dallas Cowboys are losing starting cornerback Chidobe Awuzie to the Cincinnati Bengals in free agency, per NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo. New Cowboys defensive coordinator Dan Quinn has even more work to do as he looks to revamp the unit for next season.
“Bengals agree to terms on a three-year deal with former Cowboys CB Chidobe Awuzie, source says,” Garafolo noted on Twitter. “Cincy continuing to make moves on defense. They liked the former second-rounder’s athleticism and consistency.”
The good news is the Cowboys have the No. 10 pick in the upcoming draft and have widely been linked to a pair of corners, Alabama’s Patrick Surtain or Virginia Tech’s Caleb Farley. The Dallas Morning News’ Michael Gehlken reported the Cowboys considered moving Awuzie to safety showing they were unsure about his long-term potential at corner.
“It seemed likely an external team would offer a stronger offer for CB Chidobe Awuzie than Cowboys, who considered last offseason whether safety might be his best position,” Gehlken tweeted. “Awuzie scores deal in Cincinnati. Dallas expected to add at least one veteran CB with starting experience.”
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Awuzie Missed Half of the 2020 Season with Injuries & Time Spent on the COVID-19 List
Awuzie only played in eight games last season as the corner battled through multiple injuries and also landed on the COVID-19 list. The former Cowboys corner notched one interception, five pass deflections and 38 tackles in 2020. During a November 2020 interview, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones discussed Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis, indicating the team wanted to see more from both players.
“Those are real — those are very pointed areas that we must look at,” Jones said, per The Dallas Morning News. “We must look at our style of play. We have to look at availability. We have to — we have changed to some degree what we expect a D-back to give us out there. All of that has really shows up and has shown up. This is when we take advantage of it. It goes right to a Robinson question or these guys that have more experience. Now, let me just say this. Both those guys you just mentioned, I can you tell you right now, if they’re healthy and available they need to be out there. They can help us make the plays we want to make down the stretch here.”
The Cowboys Will Likely Land a Fourth or Fifth-Round Compensatory Pick for Awuzie
The Cowboys will land a compensatory pick for losing Awuzie in free agency. USA Today’s K.D. Drummond estimates the Cowboys will earn either a fourth or fifth-round pick in exchange for Awuzie’s departure. Drummond also detailed why the Cowboys may not be extremely disappointed to see Awuzie wearing another jersey in 2021.
“The biggest issue with Awuzie not living up to his draft pedigree was ball awareness,” Drummond noted. “Consistently in close proximity to receivers, Awuzie was routinely finding himself on the defending end of specatular catches. They all had a common theme, Awuzie’s back being on camera as the ball landed in the receiver’s arms.”