The Dallas Cowboys are once again at the crossroads of indecision and planning for the future to consistently be a force to be reckoned with in the NFL. With the NFL Combine has started and within the next few weeks off-season free agency will begin and so will the mad rush of picking up the best available players and getting players cut, traded and etc. before the draft in April. This is the time when all fans have the hopes and dreams of a better season this upcoming year. It’s OK as a fan, especially after 18-years of no Super Bowl titles in Dallas to be a little leery about the future of our beloved Cowboys.
The main issue for the upcoming free agency rush is the salary cap. The Dallas Cowboys are roughly about 18 million dollars over the cap and one of the worst off teams in the NFL when it comes to the cap numbers. Old habits of overpaying players like Doug Free and Miles Austin who were one-hit wonders for the most part and have not crested over that hill to become what the organization expected them to be are coming back to haunt this team on a yearly basis. Other issues such as awful trades for players like Roy Williams and others have left the Cowboys where they are today. Instead of the Dallas Cowboys utilizing the draft to rebuild their team they have, in the past, tried to buy championships and the lack of chemistry shows with on-the-field production.
Looking forward into 2013, this is the year where for fans like me who are more on the realistic side of the ball, where talk is going to be cheap and production on the field will be the telling tale of the season the Dallas Cowboys will have. This is a year where these players are going to have to prove to the fans they deserve to wear that star upon their helmet and perform on and off the field. Even though the Cowboys always have a way of making miracles happen with the numbers, however, it wouldn’t be surprising to see players like Miles Austin, Doug Free and yes even Jay Ratliff become cap casualties this next season. It’s a bittersweet moment as most people are good riddance for all three however, losing all three means three positions for someone else to fill and the one thing you can say about all three players is, when they were good they were good but for the most part they were really bad. Other players filled in nicely for Austin and Ratliff’s time out due to injuries and well most of the time anyone was better than Doug Free on the offensive line. But it cuts that veteran depth which is a key point that has been lacking with the Dallas Cowboys on all sides of the ball.
Dec 16, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) looks at the play book during the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Cowboys Stadium. The Cowboys beat the Steelers 27-24 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Dallas for the last 18-years has a must win now mentality as opposed to let’s take a moment and really build a long-term winner. For example, let’s say Tony Romo doesn’t return as quarterback to the Dallas Cowboys. Is the organization certain that backup quarterback Kyle Orton is ready for another starting job where he doesn’t seem to excel well being formerly benched for Tim Tebow? Dallas has no backup plans they place all their eggs in one basket and expect to win, win, and win.
If there ever was a time for Dallas to get its stuff together now would be a good time to admit that past mistakes with the salary cap plus the salary cap penalty imposed by the NFL and all of the off-the-field issues last season all coming to a head for another 8-8 disappointment, it is now, this year with this 18 million dollar overage. This needs to be the year that Jerry Jones, the fans and the players says no more! We deserve better. Now is the perfect time to dump the dead weight, the overpaid and the under-productive on this team and open the door for those players who want to play, have the will to play and respect the star upon their helmet.