Jan 20, 2014; Mobile, AL, USA; Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones with head coach Jason Garrett seen in the stands of the North squad practice at Ladd-Peebles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys Can’t Use Seahawks As A Model

The Super Bowl champion isn’t always the best team in the NFL, but after storming through the regular season with a 13-3 mark, and finishing off an impressive playoff run with a 43-8 trouncing of the record-setting Denver Broncos, the Seattle Seahawks certainly appear to be the most talented and most complete team in the NFL.

It’s only natural for fans of other teams, including the Dallas Cowboys, to look at a team like that and think “We can do that, too.”

But the truth of the matter is, most teams, including the Cowboys, shouldn’t be trying to build a team like the Seahawks just won the ultimate prize with. That’s not to say that the Seahawks didn’t do an excellent job of creating one of the most complete teams in recent NFL history. It’s just that they had a lot of luck along the way, and no team should ever count on every break going its way.

Although Seattle was led by a dominating defense, quarterback Russell Wilson has been steady, sometimes spectacular, presence at the league’s most important position. But, Wilson wasn’t even supposed to be the starting quarterback of the Seattle Seahawks as recently as 22 months ago. No, that job was supposed to go to Matt Flynn, who signed a 3-year contract with $9 million guaranteed.

Publicly, Wilson, a third-round-pick, was said to be competing for the starting job. But in reality, it was Flynn’s to lose. And lose it, he did. It takes a lot for a 5’11, third-round rookie quarterback to make a start on opening day, but that’s exactly what Russell Wilson did, and neither he nor his team has looked back since.

Under the new collective bargaining agreement, Wilson is still “stuck” in his rookie contract for one more season. His cap hit in 2013 was $681,085 and will increase to “only” $817,302, before he can renegotiate for the big deal that everyone assumes is coming.

Wilson’s incredibly low cap number (relative to his position) helped Seattle to be able to spend money a lot of other places, and fill in a lot of missing pieces.

The same can be said for cornerback Richard Sherman, a 2011 fifth-round-pick, who many consider to be the best in the game at his position, but only counted $600,606 against the team’s cap in 2013.

To summarize, the Seahawks found  two steals in consecutive drafts, who turned out to be arguably their best players on both offense and defense, and combined, the two counted only a little under $1.3 million against the salary cap in a Super Bowl championship season. Yes, that’s a TREMENDOUS way to build a team, but also probably not a great plan to have, given how unlikely of a scenario it is.

Truth be told, the current version of the Seahawks isn’t likely to be able to stay together for too much longer, as all of these bargain players (and there are more than a few) will eventually look to get paid their actual worth. That’s not to criticize anything that the Seahawks have done in building their team. It’s simply the reality of the current NFL. You can only keep so many diamonds in the rough at a bargain price for so long.

As far as the Cowboys are currently constructed, it’s foolish to try and make any comparisons to the Seahawks, and hope that “Jerry figures out how to build like them.” Dallas is a fairly veteran team, with a $100 million quarterback and a lot of money tied up in “star” players that CAN’T go towards free agents, unlike Seattle’s recent situation.

At some point, Dallas will eventually need to blow things up, and start over again, but even then, it’s probably not a good idea to count on finding a Super Bowl caliber quarterback in the third round and a shutdown cornerback in the fifth (and yes, I know, the current $100 million quarterback wasn’t even drafted. It does happen. But it’s not good to bet on it.).

Although fans remember it differently, the 2013 season wasn’t a total disaster. The Cowboys didn’t finish 3-13. They went 8-8 and lost five games by a combined eight points. That’s not a team that needs to be blown up. It’s a team that needs to be shaken up. With the recent coaching hires and changes amongst the responsibilities, Dallas is doing exactly what they needed to do.

No, Dallas doesn’t SEEM to be a player or two and a coach away winning a Super Bowl, but in today’s NFL, you never know when things might break your way just enough times and send you on a run that could surprise everyone.

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Tags: Dallas Cowboys Free Agency Jerry Jones NFL Draft Richard Sherman Russell Wilson

  • Juanito Juanito

    What a joke of course not, the seattle sehawks have a good GM and the cowboys have tha worst

    • c lip

      Jj is a baffoon. The cowboys wont win another super bowl until he expires. Hopefully numb nuts can draft a few more tight ends this year.

  • http://tinyurl.com/CowboyBooksBlog fgoodwin

    I am SO SICK of people making excuses for Jerry and his dysfunctional team.

    When Jimmy was at the helm, they didn’t just hope for luck. The didn’t hope that “things might break your way just enough times and send you on a run that could surprise everyone.”

    No, they grabbed victories by the throat and barged their way into the playoffs and two Super Bowl championships, luck be damned.

    • Krupinsky

      I wasn’t making any excuses for Jerry. I’ve heard a lot of talk about how the Cowboys need to build like Seattle, and was pointing out how incredibly different the two teams are, in their current situations, from the salary cap to rosters. It’s facts, not excuses.

      • http://tinyurl.com/CowboyBooksBlog fgoodwin

        Dan, Jerry has had EIGHTEEN YEARS since our last Championship to figure out how to right this ship. How much longer does he need?

    • John

      Think it’s a coincidence Jimmy left the year the NFL instituted a salary cap? This franchise was going down with or without Jimmy. You martyr Jimmy when the truth is the guy was spent. His tenure in Dallas was the longest of his head coaching career. Given his resume and his scorched-earth style of leadership, there’s not one reason to think he had anything left in the tank for a run at the three-peat. A helluva coach, but we got all there was to get out of him…

      • http://tinyurl.com/CowboyBooksBlog fgoodwin

        John, there HAVE been coaches since Jimmy that HAVE won Super Bowls (some coaches winning multiple times) under the salary cap. So it CAN be done, the cap is NO EXCUSE. The one thing they have in common is that NONE of them coached the Cowboys. So tell me again why Jerry hasn’t been able to hire one for the Cowboys?

  • NYCowboysFan

    Good article explaining how luck plays a big part in winning and losing. Unfortunately for the Cowboys, it’s always bad luck (injuries, untimely int’s).

  • JJ

    The Seahawks real talent is for scouting. The difficulty in replicating that is that there are not many people out there capable of seeing what John Schneider and Pete Carroll were able to see in players over looked by virtually everyone else. Their ability to see what they need to in a player by figuring out where that player might excel and building their system around that talent is unique. Their scouting goes to talent and attitude, not necessarily past success. They see what players might be and not what they are. That’s hard to replicate. If it were not then everyone would be doing it.

    • Krupinsky

      The Cowboys have mostly done a good job, recently, at the very top of the draft, but it’s their inability to really hit on the later picks that is hurting them.

  • Earl Robertson

    Carroll had a big adv coming out of college in about another year he want have that adv anymore

    • JJ

      He still will. Schneider is one of the best at assessing talent in the league. It was Schneider who found many of the great picks for which Seattle was ridiculed. It was Carroll who found Schneider.

  • brkreizenbeck

    Bad luck is when your house is hit by a meteorite.15 seasons with 1 visit to the playoffs is bad management.

    • John

      Actually it’s 15 seasons with four visits to the playoffs, or one appearance every 3.75 seasons… Overstating a case needlessly erodes credibility.

  • John

    Well-researched, well-written, and hard to argue with – it takes some luck to win in today’s NFL. Best to build your franchise plan around basic fundamentals and cross your fingers…

  • atyler2011

    Blah, blah.
    Cowboys fans just need to “shut” the h*** up and concentrate on
    becoming relevance in winning again, not necessarily PR “stuff”. You
    will always get more, media wise, than you deserve because the fascination of
    being loser and an “America” team at the same time. I don’t get it
    people. We, by nature instinct, like winner not loser but for some reasons with
    this team, we have a base of “cult” followers who think they can win
    again (not with that owner/GM and TR). Oh by the way, they have been an average
    team (.500 record) for past decades regardless of how you try to spin by
    stating their record in close games. In fact, most of the NFL games are close
    games (less than a touchdown, on average) I believe, not blow outs by your
    inference. Regarding to your comments about RW, it is true that he wasn’t
    expected to come in and become their starter at the beginning. Nevertheless,
    the fact is he beat out MF, by the third pre-season game and like they’ve said- the rest is history.
    MF didn’t lose it, RW earned it. Even though, PC wasn’t sold on RW but to his
    credit, he gave the guy an opp (but I guess when your GM said so then you have
    to follow) Not too many HC in this league would do that- letting a third-rounder
    to beat out the guy you paid and thought would save this franchise. It showed
    you’ve made a mistake, which in this case, they admitted it and moved on. In
    addition, Seattle did not win until RW came on board. How many Seattle’s games did you actually watch?