The Dallas Cowboys free agency strategy is an unexciting blend of damage control re-signs and searching for discounts
The NFL free agency scrum officially begins today, though the Dallas Cowboys kicked off activities a day ahead.
Let’s start by clarifying the Cowboys’ two-prong, free agency strategy.
- Insure damage control (re-sign valued free agents)
- Seek out discount upgrades
Dallas will seek to eliminate any glaring starting holes before the draft by shaping the roster as close to last season as possible.
This task first involves re-signing their own valued free agents. These are reasonably priced players the coaches believe can fill a starting role if needed.
The second part is a patient exercise of finding any upgrades marked at a discount.
BUTLER MAKES OFFENSE WHOLE AGAIN
The first action following the damage control strategy was re-signing Brice Butler.
Butler and Terrance Williams both hitting the market together meant Dallas was stripped of a proven #2 outside receiver.
At least one needed to return to remove a gaping need at WR before the draft. Butler’s past production was far lower so naturally he’d be cheaper.
With no overwhelming gap in talent between them, Butler’s value was the right call. Dallas will now look to upgrade at receiver in the draft only if the value matches.
CARR JUST AROUND THE CORNER
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Again, free agency removed two players from one needed starting position. Following the value principle, look for Dallas to re-sign Carr.
Carr’s age (31 in May) and less sticky coverage will cost less than Claiborne. Despite a poor injury history, Claiborne’s youth (27) and greater talent will elevate costs.
Carr openly wants to return and continue playing for his childhood team. He also is heavily involved in the local community. If offers are close, Dallas wins.
STRONG SAFETY WILL BE LESS SAFE
Church was always going to cost too much for Dallas to justify at his position.
Wilcox is not a long-term answer, but he showed enough improvement for coaches to believe he could start and not break the dam on defense.
Again, the cheaper of the two will return and temporarily plug a starting hole. Don’t be surprised when Dallas drafts their next starting safety in April.
MCCLAIN MARKED AS HIGH PRIORITY
He won’t be overly expensive and would solidify the interior rotation. By eliminating a need inside, the Cowboys are able to focus on ends in the draft.
NEW ADDITIONS MUST HAVE DISCOUNT
Tony Romo was expected to depart one way or another. Recent reports all but guarantee he’ll be released today and designated a June 1 cut.
The Cowboys working out former Brown’s back-up QB Josh McCown yesterday is more proof. It’s a good bet McCown signs a cost-friendly deal by the weekend.
There may be a few other mild new additions or re-signs down the road. But as usual Dallas will wait out the first flurry and shop for bargains.
Hopefully in the end they’ll sign a lower cost, short deal with an aging pass rusher.