The Dallas Cowboys have continued their steady, frugal approach to free agency this offseason. Oh, they’ve signed a handful of players, but none of the big names fans had been clamoring for. Instead, names like Christian Covington and Kerry Hyder have been brought in to bolster the defensive line. That’s not to say Dallas isn’t at least doing its due diligence of course.
The Cowboys had an offer on the table for Earl Thomas, one right at the price they were comfortable with. That Baltimore swooped in with a Godfather offer couldn’t be helped. But rather than panic at this setback, the Cowboys instead brought in the likes of Clayton Geathers, Randall Cobb, and Eric Berry for meetings, and have since signed Cobb to a 1 year, $5 million deal. In addition to these moves, Dallas has also tested the trade market as the Miami Dolphins are ready to move on from veteran defensive end Robert Quinn. While Quinn’s most dominant years are behind him, he’s still a 28-year-old edge rusher who can get you 5+ sacks a season. And with both teams reportedly fine with the draft pick compensation being a 2020 pick, it’s another thrifty move by Stephen Jones and company.
While I hardly think Dallas is done in free agency, the days of the Cowboys money-whipping free agents are most certainly gone now that Stephen is in charge of the cap and finances. That’s not to say, however, they can’t get decidedly better as a result of these thrifty moves.
In light of Cole Beasley’s departure, Randall Cobb should provide a cheap, proven option in the slot, while Covington and Hyder are meant to address some of the defensive line’s most glaring issues against the run and fill the void left by David Irving. The Robert Quinn trade, meanwhile, would go a long way toward shoring up the pass rush in light of the latest Randy Gregory suspension and the ongoing contract negotiations with All-Pro DeMarcus Lawrence. By no means should Quinn be intended to replace Lawrence, but the pairing would be a solid upgrade for the line.
Although fans, myself included, looked at this offseason and Dallas’s sizable chunk of cap space with the expectation of at least one big signing, Stephen Jones has remained adamant in his philosophy. The Cowboys don’t like paying other teams’ guys, especially not when you have to pay a good player like he’s great and an average player like he’s good. Because of that, Dallas’s approach remains straight forward: pay our own guys, all the while trying to keep their deals as reasonable as possible for next year’s free agents and the next, and then go bargain bin shopping to fill out the rest of your needs. It may not make a “splash” with the media or fanbase but with the right coaching, you can find the next Antwaun Woods, allowing you to pay roughly $500,000 for a significant and impactful piece to your defense as opposed to breaking bank and paying “sticker price” as Jerry Jones said about signing Brandon Carr to his $50 million deal in 2012. Not a bad way to do business.