With a depleted defensive backfield, the Dallas Cowboys signing Robert Blanton to a one-year deal is a necessary move to keep bodies warm.
Maybe the Dallas Cowboys won’t have to draft more than one safety during the 2017 NFL Draft next week, as they have signed veteran safety Robert Blanton to a one-year contract. Blanton previously played for the Minnesota Vikings and, most recently, the Buffalo Bills.
In a tweet from Jason Bernstein, Blanton’s agent, he broke the news of the signing by the Cowboys:
Upon signing, Blanton will most likely not be a starter on the Cowboys. However, he provides the defense with some much-needed quality depth at safety after losing both J.J. Wilcox and Barry Church in free agency. Their departure allows the Cowboys to look elsewhere to improve on a defense that didn’t play a great brand football in the final stages of 2016 and in the playoffs.
With Blanton, there have been some issues with his character, most notably last season. The safety was involved in an aggressive pregame moment last season as a member of the Bills when he participated in a scuffle with the New England Patriots, according to a report by Max Meyer of NFL.com:
Brissett and New England wideout Malcolm Mitchell were jogging during pregame warmups, when Buffalo safety Robert Blanton approached Brissett and shoved him.
Blanton provides the Cowboys not just with depth, but some much-needed defensive swagger, too. He’s a hard-hitting safety, and maybe he’ll be able to give the Cowboys the extra boost they need at times.
This past season with the Bills, he played in 10 games, making two starts. In that time, he totaled 18 tackles. In four seasons with the Vikings, Blanton made a total of 17 starts (13 in 2014) in 60 games with the franchise. Blanton totaled 154 tackles, six passes defended, one interception and one fumble recovery. Blanton also has some postseason experience, playing in two games.
Looking back at the best year of Blanton’s five NFL seasons in 2014 with Minnesota, he totaled 71 tackles (34 assisted) with one fumble recovery, three passes defended and his lone career interception, coming against the Bills coincidentally.
Dallas made a solid signing with the addition of Blanton for just a season. The move gives them some freedom to build the defense through the draft. Currently, the Cowboys don’t have a lot of star power within their defensive backfield, but Blanton adds a solid veteran to the mix.
The Cowboys are making some smart and bold choices with their defensive backfield. With Blanton now on the roster, maybe the team will look to add some more veterans to that part of the depth chart, while drafting at the spot too so the younger players won’t be rushed.
If nothing else, the veteran experience is what makes this a nice signing by the Cowboys, and the fact that this isn’t a long-term agreement makes it all worth the opportunity for Blanton to really shine to add to his career. All the while, he can help the Cowboys defense improve when called upon.