Reviewing the Dallas Cowboys free agency losses

Sep 18, 2016; Landover, MD, USA; Dallas Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr (39) celebrates after the Cowboys' game against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field. The Cowboys won 27-23. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 18, 2016; Landover, MD, USA; Dallas Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr (39) celebrates after the Cowboys' game against the Washington Redskins at FedEx Field. The Cowboys won 27-23. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

We take a look back at how the Dallas Cowboys losses during free agency simply usher in a youth movement for America’s Team in 2017.

During the NFL owners meetings this week, Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones indicated that the team was prepared for the departures we’ve seen during free agency this offseason. Jones could not be anymore correct.

The notable names lost by Dallas in free agency include: offensive lineman Ronald Leary, defensive backs, J.J. Wilcox, Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Barry Church, and defensive linemen, Terrell McClain and Jack Crawford. But these are not names I’ll miss as while they made some terrific plays, they were all also liabilities in some way or another.

That is everyone except for the two defensive linemen. But even Crawford and McClain seemed like transitional players who were only there to play a role while the team drafted better prospects.

Both defensive tackles played for the Cowboys for three seasons. Both recorded less than 10 sacks in those three years. And Both players were not consistent starters.

The defensive backfield in Big D needed a complete overhaul and this is quickly being realized. Safety Byron Jones and cornerback Anthony Brown represent the future of the defensive backfield.

Couple them with free agent acquisition Nolan Carroll and a healthy veteran cornerback in Orlando Scandrick and the exodus in the defensive backfield just does not seem so bad. It likely is a step in the right direction.

Carr is an incredibly reliable player in terms of his health, but his on the field production is lacking just to say the least. I mean this is the same player who got burned by New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham on what is being heralded as the “greatest” catch in the last 20 years (if not ever). He ended up on the cover of Madden for all the wrong reasons and honestly at 30, is a huge candidate for decline.

In four years with the Kansas City Chiefs, Carr recorded eight interceptions. In his five season in  Dallas, he recorded only seven total. Carr was the biggest free agent bust the Cowboys have had in recent memory as his massive five-year, $50.1 million contract never represented his production.

From one bust to another, let’s talk about Claiborne. Typically when a team trades up to select you, the deck will be stacked against you. Claiborne was a monumental first-round bust that set the Cowboys defense back years. Not only did Mo struggle to stay healthy during his stint in Dallas, he only recorded four interceptions in his five seasons with the franchise.

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Both players represented tremendous errors in judgement that the front office made and now they are some other teams problem.

On offense, losing Ronald Leary was inevitable. People seem to forget, he lost his job to offensive lineman La’el Collins two years ago. When Collins went down with injury early last season, Leary stepped up like any veteran would be expected too.

Leary helped solidify this O-line and pave the way for star running back Ezekiel Elliott’s ridiculous rookie season last year. He however was not the focal point of this line and far from the most talented player on it.

Now Leary is getting paid like a starting offensive lineman on a less competitive team, the Denver Broncos. Cowboys fans would have been furious if they paid that much for Leary especially if it meant letting go of Pro Bowl guard Zack Martin or another star player in the future.

Lastly, let’s talk about the safeties that departed. Church has been one of my favorite Cowboys of all-time and it had finally appeared he was really beginning to click within Dallas’ defensive scheme.

Now Church is off to Jacksonville to be apart of whatever they have going on there. This loss hurts, mainly because he is a captain on the defensive side of the ball. But his departure is not a game changer. Church spent seven seasons with the Cowboys and at 29-years old, he was bound to leave the team sooner rather than later.

During his time in Dallas, Church recorded five interceptions and posted 363 tackles. Wilcox is arguably more productive in a shorter amount of time. At 26, he already has recorded five interceptions and 158 tackles.

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One thing is clear. Cowboys fans and their teammates will miss a lot of the players that have departed via free agency this offseason. But the fact is their production can be replaced fairly easily. The players who left got the biggest contracts they could and God bless them for it. But for the Dallas Cowboys, the youth movement continues.