NFL Free Agency: The Dallas Cowboys and 5 Best Landing Spots for Nate Clements
No one knows for certain when NFL Free Agency will begin, but when it does the movement of players will be significant. Veterans and young guys alike will be able to test the free-agent market, where they will decide whether to return to their former teams or embark on new adventures.
Defensive back Nate Clements is one of those veterans standing at a crossroads. With so many teams in need of help for their secondaries, Clements should have no problem finding a home once free agency begins.
Here is a list of five potential landing spots for Nate Clements.
5. San Francisco 49ers
This year’s lockout has and will continue to seriously affect the free-agent market. Many older players will likely end up staying with their current teams instead of packing up and going to completely new spots.
This could be the primary option for Nate Clements, who has been with the 49ers for the past four seasons.
Whenever the lockout does finally end and players are free to test the market, anyone going to a new team would have to learn a new system in less time.
Clements could stay in San Francisco because the 49ers need help at corner back, and he would be playing in pretty much the same system as he’s been playing in.
4. Detroit Lions
Prior to this year’s NFL Draft, there was a lot of talk about the Lions' targeting a cornerback with their first-round pick. Instead Detroit got extremely lucky, with defensive tackle Nick Fairley falling into their laps.
The Lions expect to have one of the best pass rushes in the NFC this year but still need help in the defensive backfield. Nate Clements could add much needed experience to a young Detroit secondary.
Although Clements would probably rather go play for a guaranteed contender, the Lions could be a team for which he could come in and start immediately.
3. Oakland Raiders
With the future of the best cornerback in the NFL uncertain, the Raiders may be looking for someone to replace Nnamdi Asomugha. Nate Clements would definitely be a downgrade from Asomugha, but he still has a lot of games left in the tank.
If the Raiders are able to retain Nnamdi, they could also look at Clements as an option at free safety, with former first-round pick Michael Huff likely gone.
2. Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys defense has been a problem for a few seasons now, especially when it comes to the pass.
Although Nate Clements would not be the infusion of youth that Dallas, needs he would help sure up a shaky secondary.
As with the Raiders, Clements could be an option at both safety and corner, but I see him primarily fitting in with the Cowboys as a safety. Despite the fact that the transition may be tough initially, Clements has an eye for the ball and can tackle very well in space, which are ideal traits for a free safety.
1. Miami Dolphins
When Nate Clements signed his record-breaking free-agent contract with the 49ers in 2007, Mike Nolan was the team’s head coach. Currently, Nolan is the defensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins and would love to have one of his former players on his defense in 2011.
Nolan is attempting to sure up one of the league’s shakiest defenses from a season ago, and having Clements in the defensive backfield would definitely help his cause.
A change of scenery could be all Clements needs to return to his Pro Bowl form, and Miami has some pretty beautiful scenery.