Nov 3, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones (left) with his son, executive vice president Stephen Jones prior to the game against the Minnesota Vikings at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
The draft will finally be happening next week. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been waiting anxiously for it. It was a slow offseason for the Cowboys. We didn’t sign too many free agents, so the draft is really going to be the highlight of our offseason. However, looking back on this offseason I feel like the Cowboys made some really good moves. We were limited in cap space, but ultimately I feel like that actually benefitted the team. Due to the small amount of cap space the Cowboys had, they ultimately were forced to build to a successful future.
Going into free agency, the Cowboys were way above the cap limit. Because of this, the Cowboys had to go to the bargain bin for their signings. What resulted were cheap team friendly contracts. Terrell McClain and Jeremy Mincey signed cheap contracts and will provide depth to the team. Mincey in particular has showed flashes in Jacksonville, and could be a decent pass rusher for the Cowboys. With George Selvie and Anthony Spencer, the Cowboys have a three man rotation at the defensive end position.
Speaking of Anthony Spencer, he is another example of a team friendly signing. Spencer only signed a one year contract, which means he is a stop gap solution right now. This is understandable, because he was injured for almost all of 2013 and is an unknown factor now. Spencer has a base salary of just $1.25 million. For every week he’s on the game day roster, he earns more money. There are also incentives based on his performance, which would make his contract worth up to $3 million. If Spencer goes back to his 2012 form, he would be worth way more than just $3 million. This one year deal gives the Cowboys a short term solution and gives them more freedom in the draft. If Spencer is unable to perform, the Cowboys will pay very little for his service. If Spencer performs well, the Cowboys will still be getting a great value.
Another team friendly contract was the signing of Henry Melton. Melton is a potential long term solution at the defensive tackle position. Like Spencer, Melton was injured in 2013 and is also an unknown factor. Melton has showed success playing for Rod Marinelli when they were both in Chicago. Melton is playing on a 4 year contract, but it can be voided after the first year. This year, Melton has a base salary of $1.25 million and can earn another $1.25 in incentives. If Melton does not perform well, then the Cowboys will void his contract and will not have to face any consequences.
These signings protect the teams in terms of cap space in the future. If they do not work, the Cowboys face little consequences for it. This makes the draft a lot more important for the Cowboys now. With Jason Garrett, I’ve been impressed with his drafts. I am confident that he’ll find great players and provide Dallas with a young competitive roster. If you look at the Giants, Packers, and Steelers, they all operate in the same manner. They build through the draft and make smart signings. As much as it pains me to praise the Giants, this method of building a team is an effective way to produce long term success. I’m glad the Cowboys didn’t have much cap space. Their signings won’t have an effect on the short term, it should pave for a better team in the future.