With Free Agency looming closely on the horizon and the 2012 NFL Draft lagging just behind, it’s time to put together a roster plan that has a legitimate chance to contend in 2012. With roughly $20 million available in Free Agency funds, the Dallas Cowboys and their riverboat gambler General Manager have a monumental task ahead. Sure it would be nice to stockpile each position with a proven veteran and capable relief, yet the salary cap system doesn’t always allow such luxury. With so many vacancies in the 2012 Cowboys roster, it’s necessary to find players who hopefully fit the bill in order to secure others that are known leaders at their position. This article deals strictly with offensive adjustments so there will definitely be more status quo on that side of the ball than when filling out the defense.
In reality, the 2012 Cowboys offense was not very far from where it needs to be to contend. A few tweaks here and there and things should fall into place. However, as most realize, the defense is not so fortunate at the moment, but that’s another story for another day. Keep in mind when reading through the game plan, many of the major adjustments and a consuming amount of the funds available will be allocated to the defense. So while there may be a move (or lack thereof) here or there on offense that clearly has a better alternative if more funds were applied, in order to field the caliber of defense needed to win the NFC East there’s just not enough money to go around. Let’s go ahead and jump right in with the 2012 projected depth chart. As soon as you disagree, as many surely will, remember explanations will follow.
OFFENSIVE ROSTER ADJUSTMENTS:
Returning: Tony Romo, Stephen McGee
Lost: Jon Kitna (retired)
- POSITION NEED: #3 QUARTERBACK (Position Want: #2 Quarterback)
Of course most Cowboys fans prefer a solid, veteran #2 starter brought in to stabilize the QB rotation behind Tony Romo. Back-up QB is hugely important in event of injury, yet there may not be funds available to upgrade McGee. Keep in mind, Kitna required a first-year cap hit of $2.65 mil, and the cost escalated in the following years. To sign a veteran back-up QB may come at the expense of securing a quality 4th cornerback for example; a player who is counted on weekly to produce. Most Dallas fans can’t stomach another huge third down conversion or crucial touchdown allowed by the likes of an Alan Ball, and neither can the Cowboys if they plan to contend in the NFC East. For what little all Cowboys back-up QBs supplied last year (time on field), I’d have much rather seen a 4th corner holding his own when called upon weekly.
Outlook/Analysis: In 2012, Dallas has to digest the remaining signing bonus money left on Jon Kitna’s contract following his retirement. Combining Kitna’s $1.2 million in dead money and McGee’s $698k salary cap hit in 2012, the Cowboys are strapped with $1.898 million in back-up QB costs already. With so many holes to fill on the roster, I can’t see a solid veteran, free agent being added unless Romo gets injured during the season and it’s a must at that time.
Move to Make: I’m taking a chance late in the draft on a QB with immediate back-up potential. Kellen Moore of Boise State should be available in
the 6th round according to many experts. His combine athletics weren’t spectacular nor does he impress on the eye test at 6’0, 197. But this kid is fearless, extremely accurate, and a consistent winner. Moore had an astounding college career with 142 TD’s to only 28 INTs at Boise St. He also completed 73% of his passes over his last two years. The only QB ever in NCAA history to record 50 wins. Of great importance is he achieved all this both from under center and in shotgun formations. Most QB’s with these type of eye-popping stats are system guys that rarely go under center. Moore’s known to have an incredible mind for the game and superb in-game decision making. In my opinion these are two very important ingredients resulting in early grasp of an offense, making him a worthy candidate to quickly elevate to the #2 QB spot.
- Projected Cost: $715,000. Each draft pick is assigned an average value of $715,000, as it should require around $5 mil total to sign a 7-pick draft class in 2012.
Returning: Shaun Chapas (FB2)
Possible loss: Tony Fiammetta (FB1 – Restricted FA)
- POSITION NEED: #1 FULLBACK
Fiammetta had a solid 2011 season in Dallas and fared well in Jason Garrett’s system. The team will take enough risks with new players at other positions next season. The logical move is to re-sign Fiammetta at the ‘original pick’ tender amount for Restricted Free Agents.
- Projected Cost: $1.26 million