Dallas was able to plug another hole today by signing veteran safety Robert Blanton to a one year deal. When Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox bolted Texas for the sunshine state, many years of experience left with them. In fact Byron Jones was the only safety left on the roster who saw significant playing time last season.
Blanton should provide some much needed experience and depth to the last line of the Cowboys defense. The now 27 year old Oregon native played his college ball at Notre Dame. During his time in South Bend he racked up 194 tackles, 19.5 of which were behind the line of scrimmage, 2.5 sacks, 23 pass deflections and 8 interceptions while seeing action in fifty games. His play was worthy enough to be selected in the fifth round of the 2012 NFL draft by the Minnesota Vikings.
Listed at 6’ 1” and 201 pounds, Blanton enjoyed his best season as a pro in 2014 as a member of the Vikings. He led the team in tackles with 108 and also recovered a fumble and intercepted a pass. The safety left Minnesota in 2016 to sign a one year deal with the Buffalo Bills, but was placed on injured reserve after eleven games.
By signing Blanton, the Cowboys front office has once again used frugal spending in free agency to plug areas of need leading up to the draft. This strategy allows the team to truly select the best player available to them come draft night, regardless of position. While I don’t expect any more signings leading up to next Thursday’s spectacle in Philadelphia, I wouldn’t rule out the team inking another veteran or two after the draft. Especially if they feel they weren’t able to adequately address certain areas. Also important to note, any free agent signings after May 1 will not factor into next year’s compensatory pick formula.
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