Cowboys Rumors: Free-Agent Safety George Iloka Visiting Amid Raiders Interest

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMarch 21, 2019

SEATTLE, WA - DECEMBER 10:  George Iloka #23 of the Minnesota Vikings prior to taking on the Seattle Seahawks during their game at CenturyLink Field on December 10, 2018 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
Abbie Parr/Getty Images

Free-agent safety George Iloka visited the Dallas Cowboys on Friday, according to Charean Williams of Pro Football Talk.

The news comes after Ian Rapoport of NFL Network reported Wednesday that Iloka would also meet the Oakland Raiders.  

Iloka played in 16 games (three starts) for the Minnesota Vikings last season, amassing 16 tackles and a forced fumble. 

The 28-year-old suited up for the Cincinnati Bengals from 2012-17 and served as a full-time starter over the last five years. He accumulated nine interceptions, 32 passes defended and 346 tackles before joining the Vikings.

The reason for the Cowboys' and Raiders' interests are clear.

Dallas could be looking to replace strong safety Jeff Heath, per Patrik Walker of 247Sports.

Williams also reported that the Cowboys spoke with safeties Clayton Geathers and Eric Berry. Geathers has since re-signed with the Indianapolis Colts, but Berry remains without a team after nine years on the Kansas City Chiefs.

The Raiders seem set at safety with Lamarcus Joyner and Karl Joseph, but defensive coordinator Paul Guenther and Iloka were both on the Bengals from 2012-17. Guenther, who left Cincinnati for Oakland when Jon Gruden was hired in 2018, praised Iloka after the Bengals cut the safety last offseason:

That connection could lead him to the Silver and Black to provide depth behind the Raiders' current safety duo.

The question is which team Iloka would choose, should the decision come down to Dallas and Oakland. He may have a better chance to start in Dallas, and the Cowboys (10-6 in 2018) look like they'll be more competitive than the Raiders (4-12) next season even though Oakland picked up some reinforcements.

However, his familiarity with Guenther could be a key factor and swing him toward the Raiders.

The safety is entering his eighth NFL season.

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