The Dallas Cowboys have signed former Seattle Seahawk safety Ken Hamlin to a one year deal.
The Cowboys signed unrestricted free agent Ken Hamlin to a one-year deal worth $2.5 million on Friday, hoping he solves their problems at free safety. Hamlin, 26, comes to Dallas after spending four seasons in Seattle, where he started 52 of 54 regular-season games for the Seahawks.
He’s able to be the quarterback of the defense,” coach Wade Phillips said at a Friday news conference from Valley Ranch. “That’s what he’s shown he could do throughout his career, and he’s just getting started. He can help put everybody in the right place.”
Hamlin, who played at Arkansas and was raised in Memphis, is a strong hitter with good coverage skills. Patrick Watkins and Keith Davis, the two starters in 2006, were inconsistent in pass coverage. Both are expected to remain on the roster.
Hamlin is expected to take the pressure off Pro Bowl strong safety Roy Williams, who struggled in pass coverage last season. Williams will play near the line of scrimmage where he can cover tight ends, make hard hits across the middle and play the run. Last season, the Cowboys’ 3-4 defensive scheme didn’t allow for a lot of blitzes, especially from the safety position. But in Phillips’ version of the 3-4, Williams can blitz more with Hamlin playing center field. “We had some strength at the position overall,” Phillips said. “This [gets] us as strong as you want it right now. We looked at the future, and we’re looking to him for the future.”
Hamlin’s signing also gives the Cowboys some flexibility with their first-round pick in the next month’s draft. With the No. 22 pick overall, the Cowboys can now take the best player available.
Hamlin is a great pickup for the ‘Boys, especially at the price. The main concern is that he’s “another Roy Williams,” meaning a powerful hitter who doesn’t excel at pass coverage. Still, at what amounts to a bargain basement price in today’s NFL, another dominant player is a luxury.
As to the draft, it’s sure shaping up for the team to take a wide receiver in the first round. That and cornerback are supposed to be where the value is this year and the team can’t justify paying first round money to another corner. On the other hand, while they’re very deep at wide receiver, their two starters, Terrell Owens and Terry Glenn, are over 30.
Todd Archer notes that the team hasn’t taken a wideout in the first round since Alvin Harper way back in 1991. Indeed, they haven’t taken an offensive player since 1997. It’s probably time to change both trends, unless a can’t miss player falls to them at #22.
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