2012 Cowboys Free Agency: Analyzing Early Signings and Roster Decisions
By Brad Austin
COWBOYS OWN ERFAs and RFAs
DE Clifton Geathers – required tender amount given. I don’t disagree with this move as defensive end depth is needed at the moment and this young guy should develop further with a full off-season and strength program.
WR Jesse Holley – no tender offered. Holley was a hard worker but is certainly replaceable at the wide receiver position. He’s hit his ceiling and Dallas knows exactly what he offers by now. And if special teams coach Joe DeCamillis signed off on this move, I’m sure Joe feels his quality production on special teams can be replaced as well. With the cap being so tight, I’m okay with this move.
OT Jermey Parnell – required tender amount given. Parnell is young and has good upside now that he’s being given adequate time to develop. But the main thing here is Dallas is razor thin at offensive tackle beyond Tyron Smith and Doug Free. Parnell fills the role of swing tackle. With so many holes in the roster, there was little upside to letting him walk and having yet another player to replace.
FB Tony Fiammetta – no tender given. This one was a head-scratcher to me at first, but after contemplating I do understand the thinking here. Fiammetta did produce well, but I have to believe Jerry and Tony had an understanding that Dallas needs cap relief this year, and Tony wasn’t budging much. The Vickers pickup is a solid move and possibly an overall upgrade at the FB position.
WR Kevin Ogletree – no tender given. There is no possible way Kevin Ogletree’s production is worth a $1.26 million offer. With under 300 total receiving yards combined in three years and zero touchdowns…no thank you.
UNRESTRICTED FREE AGENTS (formerly Cowboys)
WR Laurent Robinson (Jaguars) – 5 YEARS, $32.5 MIL. Laurent received a ton of interest around the league from second one of free agency (49ers, Cardinals, Chargers, Dolphins, Jaguars). I was positive he’d be priced out of Dallas’ range quickly and that was the case and then some. I’m sorry Jags, but 5 years at $6.5 mil per season??? That’s way too risky for a guy who had one really good season since he’s been in the league and also a history of injuries. I have a real feeling the Jags will somewhat regret this move. I respect Laurent for what he gave Dallas in 2011, and would have loved him back in Dallas, but this deal is far over his current performance value and the length is very risky. The $5 million cap penalty in 2012 all but erased Laurent from consideration in Dallas in my opinion. However, even without the penalty, I would not support investing this type of money in a 3rd receiver. It could work out for the Jags, but remember it only worked out impressively for one year in Robinson’s career in the league. He spent the majority of two seasons hurt, and never broke 440 yards receiving in any year prior to last season with Dallas. He was never remotely close to being a $6.5 million receiver in either Atlanta (2 years) or St. Louis (2 years). I do wish him the best though, he was a hard worker , team player, and now on his way to the AFC.
TE Martellus Bennett (Giants) – 1 YEAR / $2.5 mil. Let’s face it, the only reason Cowboys fans didn’t completely despise Bennett’s clown act is he blocked well and was wearing the star. Now that he belongs to the Giants…game on. This is the perfect guy to love to hate and he will quickly earn the disdain of Dallas fans. Bennett in Giants blue seems like a fitting end to unfulfilled expectations. Unfortunately, this move is great for the Giants. Bennett will instantly provide better run blocking, and also could become effective in the passing game. With so many dangerous wide receivers demanding coverage and even Ahmad Bradshaw releasing out of the backfield, Bennett should have a chance to draw favorable coverage match-ups and showcase his ability. It remains to be seen if he will dedicate himself to the trade. I know Cowboys fans would love to see him lolly-gag and clown around in New York just as he annoyingly did so often in Dallas.
So far overall I’d have to say the Dallas Cowboys are faring quite well at this very early point in free agency. Brandon Carr was a must after Nicks and Finnegan went off the board, and Jerry sealed him up quickly. Orton provides Kitna-like insurance for Tony Romo and avoids trusting McGee if meaningful situations arise. Vickers was a big surprise yet I have a funny feeling it is a great move for the power running game next year. After all, five total rushing TD’s by Dallas in 2011 is inexcusable. The jury is still out on the Bernadeau signing, yet I’m sure it cannot hurt to add more depth and competition to the guard position at the right price. And for the most part I like the two players openly still being targeted at the moment…Connors and Pool. Securing blocking TE Kellen Davis would have been huge for the Cowboys but he re-signed with the Bears. Nevertheless, it’s so far so good in Big D. Let’s see what the free agency carousel has in store for Dallas as the week progresses. At the very least, Dallas is certainly making strong plays and heading in the right direction.
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