The Dallas Cowboys have re-signed two of their most under-performing free agents because they are unwilling to take a risk.
The Dallas Cowboys have a problem letting go when it comes to their own underachievers. But the Cowboys front office has no problem parting ways with veterans like defensive end DeMarcus Ware and running back DeMarco Murray. And it’s all about one thing: money.
Sitting on their hands during free agency once again, the Cowboys have committed to not overspending during this frenzy period. And that’s not a bad thing. We all want Dallas to make wise financial decisions. Unfortunately, they have taken it too far.
Cowboys executive vice president and director of player personnel Stephen Jones seems annoyed by the whole free agency process. Undoubtedly scarred by the team’s past mistakes, this franchise refuses to spend on players who might actually be worth the risk.
Instead, the Cowboys will settle for re-signing the devils they know, rather than the ones they don’t. Although they had visits from both free agent quarterback Matt Moore and cornerback Nolan Carroll, both remain on the market. On Friday, the team announced they had re-signed their own veterans, and utter disappointments, corner Morris Claiborne and linebacker Kyle Wilber.
Claiborne could go down in history as the Cowboys greatest draft bust. Dallas actually traded up in the 2012 NFL Draft to select the ball-hawking, playmaker out of LSU sixth overall. Injuries and inconsistency have plagued Claiborne his entire Cowboys career. Although he showed flashes of competence last season, he was still limited to 11 games due to injury.
Claiborne didn’t have a single interception in 2015. Which is not a major surprise considering he’s only had three total picks in the last four years. Claiborne actually recorded more takeaways (six) during his final season at LSU than his entire time spent in Dallas.
The Cowboys even rejected the opportunity to execute the fifth-year option on Claiborne’s rookie contract, making him an unrestricted free agent this offseason. If there is one, small silver-lining to this awful re-signing, it’s the fact Dallas signed Mo to a one-year deal for only $3 million (base) instead of the $11.08 million the option would have reportedly cost them. But the fact he’s still on the roster is a epic fail.
And the Wilber re-signing is simply a head-scratcher. The former fourth round selection out of Wake Forest in 2012 has never stepped up his game. Although he will show flashes, the linebacker lacks any consistency. And the fact it is a two-year contract means Wilber will be around to provide more mediocre play in the foreseeable future. Last season, he recorded a total of 24 tackles. Six of which were on special teams, which is where Wilber figures to be spending the bulk of his time.
Both moves show a major deficiency in the team’s ability to evaluate their own players. But don’t get it twisted, it’s all about money. Dallas can sign these two known quantities on the cheap.
What frustrates me is the fact there simply have to be several other players in free agency that are actually better than Claiborne and Wilber. And whom could be had at a reasonable rate. It’s called a calculated risk. Some free agents are worth it.
Sure, there are several examples of free agents not working out. That’s the risk. But there are also cases where free agents play a pivotal role in getting their new franchise a Super Bowl ring. Last year’s Denver Broncos roster comes to mind.
Yet, the Cowboys seem unwilling to take any risk at all. In fact, they’ve decided to take a couple days off just as free agency has started. According to one source, Dallas has no scheduled prospective player meetings this weekend. C’mon, guys! It’s like your not even trying.
I’m all for the Cowboys front office reenacting their own version of Moneyball during free agency. And they absolutely should not pay superstar prices for average talent. I get that.
But how about paying a free agent what he’s worth? How about spending the first few days of the free agency period in the office, researching, meeting and testing those waters to find that value you often preach to the media about?
The Cowboys have a problem letting go of their underachievers. Claiborne and Wilber, who have both had several years to blossom in Dallas, didn’t deserve to be re-signed. They had their chance. It’s time to see if others can do better. They are out there. You may have to work through the weekend to find them, but value is out there.
Unfortunately, I believe America’s Team took a huge step backwards today. Enjoy your weekend off.
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