I love the start of Free Agency every year. I wear out the F5 button on my keyboard trying to get news. This is the first year I’ve used Twitter trying to hear some scrap of information. On top of that I always visit fan forums to see what the fans are saying. Inevitably this practice ends up cracking me up. Every move made by a Division rival is a smoke signal of doom. Every player the Dallas Cowboys lose is a hole we couldn’t afford, or the guy who held us down. Every player signed is either over rated or the missing piece of the puzzle. It is just hilarious. I can’t imagine much work gets done around the country as fans are glued to every NFL site they trust looking for any scrap of news.
So let’s begin by discussing why the Cowboys have not already signed every fan’s pet cat. In the NFL there is a calendar date that signals the start of the League Year. In 2013 this date was March 12th and the time was 4:00 PM Eastern. You could almost hear the NASCAR announcer cranking up. “Gentlemen! Start your engines.” At that moment in time every team in the NFL has to be in compliance with the Collective Bargaining Agreement’s mandated Salary Cap.
Dallas had two periods of heavy contract activity in the last week and a half. The first was accomplished with restructured deals for Brandon Carr, Miles Austin, Jason Witten, DeMarcus Ware and a couple of others. The Cowboys then used the cap room they created there to Franchise Tag Anthony Spencer. This move meant they had to once again renegotiate contracts and shuffle the roster to get under for the start of the league year.
The Cowboys are under the Salary Cap, but not by much. So why are fans hitting that F5 button and lamenting every player not signed? Because that is what fans do. They get their guts all in a twist and they imagine every Free Agent is the missing piece of the puzzle. They spend an entire season, and most of the off season talking about how to save Cap Room, but at the start of Free Agency the money they aren’t spending is burning a hole in their pockets and they want Jerry Jones and the Cowboys to be big players in Free Agency.