Like most football fans, you were probably very skeptical when you saw the word “brilliant” associated with the Dallas Cowboys, but that’s exactly the right way to describe this move. On Friday, the Cowboys signed safety Barry Church to a $12.4 million contract extension, meaning Dallas will have a talented strong safety through at least 2016. The deal includes a $2.5 million signing bonus and $3.9 million in guaranteed money.
Church tore his right Achilles tendon in a win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sept. 23 and is currently on injured reserve (IR) but the Cowboys are apparently not worried about his recovery from the injury. Cowboys defensive coordinator Rob Ryan worked his magic once again, convincing team owner and general manager Jerry Jones to lock up Church and ensure Dallas’ secondary won’t return to the pathetic state from which it suffered before this season.
On another positive note, the Cowboys have now avoided a sticky situation with Church, who would have been a restricted free agent at the end of the season, the last in the three-year deal he signed as an undrafted rookie in 2010. Had he made it to that point without a new deal, Church would have undoubtedly been heavily pursued by many safety-hungry teams and Dallas likely would have been yet again without a viable strong safety. This next line is going to seem very bewildering to Cowboys fans, but kudos to Jones for this one.
Church will return to his starting strong safety spot in 2013, a season that is sure to be the best defensive campaign in recent Dallas history with another starter, inside linebacker Sean Lee, also back from injury. Don’t count your chickens before they hatch, though. The Cowboys made a good move with Church’s contract, but that means about 10 bad ones will plague the team before another smart one crosses Jones’ mind.