Jan 1, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul (90) sacks Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: William Perlman/The Star-Ledger via USA TODAY Sports

Feeling The (Big D) Blues

Growing up as a kid in a single parent household with a parent who made just enough for us to get by, Christmas was rarely fun.  Most years, there were a few presents but rarely was there ever that “wow” present.  Mom worked as hard as she could and did what she could do which was always appreciated.  That feeling continues to resonate being a Cowboys fan when free agency time comes in the off season.  The difference is instead of having a cash-strapped mom who cares, my owner is extremely wealthy, yet horrible at dispersing his money appropriately and acts like he’s doing his best.

It’s actually like bizarro free agency in Dallas.  Instead of bringing players in who can help, Dallas continues to cut players and let free agents leave.  Gerald Sensabaugh, Dan Connor, Marcus Spears, John Phillips and Kevin Ogletree are the latest Cowboys shown the door.  Multiple others have been asked to take pay cuts in an effort to stay under the cap.  All of this effort has provided Dallas with the luxury of a whopping $200k of room under the cap.  This is all without mentioning there is $10.6 million going to one player (Anthony Spencer) for one year.

Dec 23, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; New Orleans Saints running back Darren Sproles (43) runs the ball against the Dallas Cowboys safety Gerald Sensabaugh (43) and linebacker Anthony Spencer (93) at Cowboys Stadium. The Saints beat the Cowboys 34-31 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

To put that in perspective, defensive ends Cliff Avril and Michael Bennett signed with the Seahawks for 2 years & $15 million and 1 year, $5 million respectively.  Both ends are 27, both played in a 4-3 scheme (a position of need for Dallas) and while Avril has had 29 sacks over the last three years, Bennett had nine last year.  Spencer is two years older, has had 24 sacks over the same time period and may or may not be able to handle the switch in positions from a 3-4 to 4-3 outside linebacker.

So for roughly the same money Jerry gave one guy, he could have had two guys who picked up almost 20 sacks combined and filled a huge need.So while the Cowboys sit out days one through four of free agency and watch everybody else in the division attempt to get better, the hope of getting better gets further and further away.  The Eagles and Giants have made slight upgrades to their defense.  The Redskins added some offensive line help and the Cowboys??? Squadoosh.  You will hear about how “smart” teams usually sit out the initial wave of free agency and don’t blow money making big splashes.  That might be true, but those teams also improve their team every year by drafting well every year.  Dallas cannot count on this option, however.  From 2006 to 2009, the Cowboys had 34 picks and only four are still on the team.  This counts Doug Free, who will likely be cut in early June and Spencer who the just franchised for the second straight year.

Is all hope lost?  Of course not.  There are plenty of free agents still available that could help this team.  Charles Woodson, Ed Reed, Quintin Mikell, Bernard Pollard, Kerry Rhodes, Adrian Wilson and Louis Delmas are safeties that could save the Cowboys from spending a first or second round pick on that position.  With the franchise tag being under $7 million, it is completely realistic to expect to sign one of these players to a fiscally responsible deal.  There is still a small amount of that little kid from back in the day in me.  I can only hope that there is a present under the tree that will bring a smile to my face.

Tags: Anthony Spencer Dallas Cowboys Dan Connor Gerald Sensabaugh Marcus Spears

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