Last year, we were robbed the chance to savor free agency because it was combined with training camp. This off-season has been back to normal, so we haven’t been deprived the one of many pleasures in the NFL’s boring, speculative off-season. Whether that plays into Cowboys fans’ satisfaction in our free agent moves is for another commentator to examine. Overall, I think the fan base is pleased with our free agent acquisitions.
Pardon me if I dissent.
Jason and Judd Garrett, along with personnel director Tom Ciscowski and sonny boy Stephen Jones, have made this off-season comparable to the 2005 and 2007 off-seasons in terms of free agent pursuit. This is the type of action many were clamoring for in 2010 when we stood pat as the rest of the conference blew by. I do laud them for their effort.
But you can color me unimpressed.
Everyone is excited about Brandon Carr. And he has some potential. I really like his size. I like big corners, because they can jam and re-direct receivers. Plus, Carr has a 5 year, $50 million salary that is front-loaded and shouldn’t be a liability for us in later seasons. But I don’t think he’s the great salvation for our secondary.
The same goes for safety Brodney Pool. To me, he’s another Abe Elam type. He’s really the first player we will have that has been part of both the Ryan Twins’ defensive system — first with Remus in 2009 and later with Rex in 2010 and 2011. That’s the only positive I see about him. But I don’t expect him to delete the back end the way we’ve wanted going on 10 years now.
The Dan Connor signing makes me wonder about Bruce Carter. Yeah, I suppose Connor is good in run support, but his taking snaps away from Bruce Carter will say paragraphs about the coaches’ trust in Carter.
Kyle Orton was a good signing. It’s good to have a quality backup like Kyle Orton. Now I know the Cowboys fans infected with toxoplasma gondii from handling too much cat litter — or consuming BSPN — are going to either A) think his signing will create “competition” for Romo or B) call for Orton to be inserted should Romo start 2012 off with an incomplete pass. But this is the type of backup we should have had in 2008, instead of the Kurt Russell reject who couldn’t even act like a quarterback. If we would have had a competent backup in 2008, we probably make the playoffs.
Lawrence Vickers is another pick that actually tells you about the other talent, notably Tony Fiammetta. There’s more to the Fiammetta injuries that isn’t being told, and my intuition tells me that’s why we let him go. Remember: when they say it’s not about something, it probably is. Some people are sour their franchise didn’t get Lawrence Vickers. One could argue he helped Arian Foster a great deal in 2011, but I’ll believe it when I see it with Demarco Murray and Felix Jones.
Then we’ve got Mackenzy Bernadeau. He’s going to be there for depth. Oh, good gosh, I hope they don’t plan on starting him. Yeah, he’s started in his career, but I’d rather have upper tier talent on our offensive line, not another Continental tire like Nate Livings, whom the Cowboys signed on Friday. Here’s a guy that’s thirty years old and we’re signing him to a five year agreement. With the Bernadeau signing and now the Livings signing, it appears doubtful we go for a youth movement along the offensive line in the draft. But there may still be hope. And with the recent release of the venerable Kyle Kosier, you’d have to have some sort of botulism-induced encephalitis not to go young on the offensive line.
Just as it’s too early to praise these free agent signings, it’s too early to cancel the off-season based on how above average they’ve turned out. We still have the draft. We still have the undrafted free agents to come through Valley Ranch like society’s jetsam through Judge Judy’s courtroom. There’s still a lot of off-season moves to make ’til June. Until then, I’m not going to join in with the ballad-singing on how great a free agency this has been. For me to grab a beer and start swilling, singing, and clanking steins, we’re going to have to shore up the offensive line and the defensive line. You want to improve the secondary? Give them less time they have to cover the receivers. How’s that? Does that work for you? Because it’s been working for the Giants in their past two Super Bowl runs.