#4. Free Agency Failure
In recent years, the Cowboys have adopted a philosophy of building their roster in the draft. That works well when you draft well. If you don’t, suddenly free agency plays a much bigger role in your team’s success.
This season, the Cowboys front office absolutely failed the team in free agency. Three of Dallas top free agent signings from the last two years are no longer even on the roster.
The biggest free agent signing from 2016 was touted to be defensive tackle Cedric Thornton, the former Philadelphia Eagle. But the then 28-year old underwhelmed in his first season in Dallas, racking up 22 total tackles and 1.5 sacks in 13 games. Thornton was released by Dallas in September, getting a reported $9 million for his time in Big D.
This offseason, Dallas brought in modest free agents in cornerback Nolan Carroll and Stephen Paea. Carroll was never a good fit in Dallas and was off the team after recovering from a concussion he suffered in Week Two. Paea promptly retired earlier this month after being held out entirely in Week Five.
Last week, the Cowboys surprisingly parted ways with defensive end Damontre Moore as well. If you throw in safety Robert Blanton, who was released during final cuts, then the only free agent signee from this offseason still on the roster is backup offensive tackle Byron Bell.
The Cowboys don’t like to overpay free agents. But in the case of these players, they certainly did so anyway. Dallas’ front office has to learn that it’s about balance. Ignoring free agency is not the answer. Maybe it’s time to look at those who are making these recommendations and scouting prospective free agent adds rather than the players themselves.