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March 18, 2013

Stephen Jones says Cowboys' starters at safety are probably on the team right now, and you know who he means

Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said the team could very well add a safety in free agency or the draft, but that it’s likely the two starters are on the team now.

“We may get some insurance there ... We’ve got some players to draft and college free agents to get, but we do think our two young guys could start for us,” Jones said Monday from the NFL owners meetings in Phoenix.

The “two young guys” are, of course, fourth-year veteran Barry Church and 2012 fourth-round pick Matt Johnson. But combined, they appeared in only three games last year – and that was all Church. Johnson spent the year sidelined by hamstring problems, and Church suffered an Achilles tear in Week 3.

So Jones said the Cowboys do want to cover themselves with a veteran, if possible.

“That’s why we’re going to have to have insurance at the end of the day,” Jones said. “Obviously we think a lot about Church, but he’s coming off injury. It’s not perfect, but other teams have to hang out places, too, with their cap situations. That’s where we are with it.”

The Cowboys tried the low-priced free agent approach last year when they signed Rodney Poole. But Poole failed his conditioning test at the start of training camp, fell out of favor, then was released when he was beaten out-performed by Church.

“At some point, it wouldn’t surprise me if we end up with a veteran safety, if not one in the draft as well somewhere,” Jones said. “That doesn’t mean we take one out of need. But if we see one at the right place, right time, and he fits well where it is, you’ve got to look at it.”

-- Carlos Mendez

Twitter @calexmendez

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