Cowboys Called On to Sign Ex-49ers Playmaker in Free Agency


Getty Strong safety Jaquiski Tartt #29 and free safety Jimmie Ward #20 of the San Francisco 49ers.

Stop me if you’ve heard this before: the Dallas Cowboys are in dire need of safety help.

With starter Xavier Woods slated to hit the open market and only Darian Thompson and Donovan Wilson left atop the depth chart, this position is of utter importance to new defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, whose 4-3 system relies on strong secondary play.

Fortunately for the Cowboys, this is a good offseason to seek a safety, particularly a veteran safety, the free-agent pool being deep.

But in case Jerry Jones does not want to drop record-setting coin on, say, Justin Simmons, there’s one “bargain-bin” free-agent who could draw his eye, according to Bleacher Report: Former San Francisco 49er Jaquiski Tartt.

Utilizing the draft to bring in young talents would be good. But there’s going to need to be some veteran leadership in the room as well.

Tartt has been involved in everything from a 2-14 season and a 13-3 season with an NFC championship in his time with the Niners. His experience and veteran presence would be good to add to a unit that will likely feature more young players and Trevon Diggs in his second season.

With plenty of top safety talent in this free-agent class and his injury history, Tartt is a high-ceiling signing that could come cheaper than expected.

Contract Offer: Two years, $7 million

ALL the latest Dallas Cowboys news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Cowboys newsletter here!

Sign up for the Heavy on Cowboys Newsletter!

Background on Tartt

A 2015 second-round pick of the Niners, the Samford product is something of a playmaker in the back end. Appearing in 66 games (50 starts) spanning 2015-2020, Tartt has totaled 223 tackles, 17 pass breakups, four interceptions, four sacks, and two forced fumbles. His best season came as a rookie when he made 65 combined tackles, three PBUs, two sacks and one INT across 15 appearances.

“Tartt’s got a lot of ability. … [He’s] a very smart player. He’s very aware. He’s one of our better communicators back there,” 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan said prior to Super Bowl LIV.

In 2020, Tartt was limited to a career-low seven games; he suffered a turf toe injury in Week 9 that ultimately ended his campaign. That’s the rub on the 29-year-old: he struggles to stay off the trainer’s table, having failed to complete a full 16-game season since entering the league. Tartt, obviously, did not play in San Francisco’s Dec. 20 matchup at AT&T Stadium — a 41-33 Cowboys victory.

Follow the Heavy on Cowboys Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!

Cowboys Pushed to Sign New Starting LB

In that same piece, BR’s Alex Ballentine also identified soon-to-be former Los Angeles Chargers linebacker Denzel Perryman as a potential free-agent Cowboys target, along with Tartt and Atlanta Falcons offensive lineman Joe Haeg.

Adding a run-stuffing linebacker like Perryman would be a step in the right direction. Perryman is not the best in coverage, but he was ranked third among all linebackers in run defense grade by Pro Football Focus. That grade alone helped carry him to the third overall rank among linebackers, according to their analysts.

Perryman has a few factors going against him in the pursuit of a big payday, though. He’s now 28 years old, which means he’ll likely finish this contract on the wrong side of 30. Run-stuffing linebackers with limited coverage ability aren’t as valuable as they used to be.

He may be willing to take a deal like the Bears signed with Danny Trevathan last season in which he gets three years with most of the contract guaranteed and the biggest cap hits in the final year.

Contract Offer: Three years, $24 million

READ NEXT: Rumored Cowboys Trade Package for Texans QB Deshaun Watson Revealed

Follow Zack Kelberman on Twitter: @KelbermanNFL