Most Cowboys fans are struggling with the team being inactive in the early part of free agency. When free agency started Tuesday Morning the Cowboys were just barely under the salary cap threshold, avoiding penalties but restricting their ability to pursue top flight free agent talent around the league. While most fans are upset with the inactivity, do not despair, the inactivity in free agency may be the best thing for the future of the Dallas Cowboys.
In this Salary Cap era of the NFL, building a team through free agency is a wasted proposition for a team like the Dallas Cowboys. In the recent past the Cowboys have tried to bring in high priced free agents as a base for their roster and it has not produced wins on the football field. The high priced spending on free agents from other teams and their own players has put the Cowboys in the “Cap Hell” they currently reside in.
Free agency in the NFL is not a way to build your team, but more useful as a filler to complete a roster. Looking at the current class of free agents, outside of Jake Long – OT – Miami, there is not one player that would provide a significant impact to the Cowboy success next season. The truth of the matter when it comes to free agency is that the moves are a short term fix with long term consequences if it goes bad.
Using history as a guide, the Cowboys built their dynasty in the 90’s via the NFL Draft. Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, Emmitt Smith, Russell Maryland, Larry Allen, Nate Newton and countless others were all obtained through the Draft not free agency. Free agency was used to get piece fillers like Charles Haley and Deion Sanders, but not as a base to build the team around.
In the current landscape of the NFL the free agency market has left teams scrambling to restructure contracts in the offseason just to avoid penalties from the salary cap. Looking at last season of the 12 teams that made the playoffs there was only one significant free agent signing that worked out and that was the Broncos signing Peyton Manning. Most of the other teams built their team with their current roster and an infusion of good Draft picks.
Fans always want a quick fix, and free agency fills that impulse to win big right away. The truth of the matter is that free agency is more like a junkie scoring a cheap hit from a crack pipe. What bad teams really need to do is purge their roster and build through the Draft and player development. So as the Cowboys fans watch everyone else overpay for talent in free agency, they should accept the short term pain of roster purging and an influx of young talent for long term success in the future.