For the first couple days into NFL free agency, the Dallas Cowboys were more than content to sit on their hands while big name free agents got scooped up by other teams. They continued to stay on the sidelines even as they began to lose some of their very own free agent players.
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When the Cowboys finally starting bringing in players from out of the free agency cold, their choices have been inexpensive role players signed to bargain basement deals. Welcome to Moneyball in Dallas.
And for those who don’t quite understand this new fiscally responsible version of America’s Team, these actions can appear quite confusing. And that includes some members of the national media as well.
On Friday, barely four days after the opening of the free agent market, NFL.com’s Around The NFL Editor Gregg Rosenthal listed the Dallas Cowboys as losers in free agency. Here’s his explanation as to why:
"“A lot of ex-Cowboys have made a lot of money in free agency, which should be considered an indirect compliment to Jason Garrett‘s program. The list of departures is large: (DeMarco) Murray, Justin Durant, Bruce Carter, Jermey Parnell and Henry Melton. The list of arrivals is not pretty: Darren McFadden and Jed Collins. This free agency period is far from over, but you know this is killing Jerry Jones to sit on the sideline.”"
The Cowboys, and their owner and general manger Jerry Jones, in the very recent past were known for making splashy moves in free agency. Yet, those signings have not resulted in a Lombardi Trophy since Hall of Fame cornerback Deion Sanders was signed as a free agent back in September of 1995.
Although it’s taken nearly twenty years, it appears Dallas has finally learned a very tough lesson. And that lesson was echoed in a recent radio interview by Cowboys’ vice president Stephen Jones while he was explaining Dallas’ new approach to free agency.
"“I think active can get you in trouble in free agency. I think you have to be efficient and look for your values, and you can do good things,” Jones told SiriusXM NFL Radio (via the Dallas Morning News) earlier this month.”We did it last year with a player like (Jermey) Mincey where we got a lot of great value out of him. But at the same time, we’ve been in situations where you have to pay too much for players. You got to be very careful there. We’re certainly going to be that way. We’re going to look to be efficient. If that proves to be productive then that would be good.”"
The Cowboys are being very careful with how they divide their salary cap pie again this season. So, it’s understandable that some might call Dallas losers as they elect to stay relatively quiet while the tornado-like winds of free agency swirl around them
But you should also consider the fact that it also takes wisdom to know when not take action and to choose to be faithful to a plan you believe is in the best interest of the team.
So, maybe it would be altogether wise to hold off on the name-calling until the end of the season. By then, you should be able to accurately determine who the real winners and losers from free agency are.