The Dallas Cowboys have to be kicking themselves for the mistakes they made in free agency. Specifically for who they signed and who they allowed to leave.
The Dallas Cowboys appeared very confident going into this offseason. And why not? They were coming off an impressive 13-3 regular season where their dynamic rookie duo of quarterback Dak Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott dominated NFL headlines while seemingly ushering in a new dynasty in Dallas.
So many didn’t blink an eye when the Cowboys front office decided to do a near clean sweep of their defensive secondary, replacing three of the unit’s four starters with younger, more inexpensive players.
Gone were stalwarts like safety Barry Church, cornerback Brandon Carr and guard Ronald Leary. The Cowboys opted to allow veterans like cornerback Morris Claiborne, safety J.J. Wilcox and defensive lineman Jack Crawford and Terrell McClain to find new homes on the open market.
But it wasn’t like the Cowboys front office didn’t spend any money this offseason. They actually spent a good amount.
Dallas re-signed 35-year old tight end Jason Witten to a five-year, $29.6 million deal. They also inked wide receiver Terrance Williams to a four-year contract worth $17 million. Guard turned right tackle La’el Collins was given a two-year, $15.4 million extension. Punter Chris Jones received a four-year, $8.7 million extension.
As been their practice in recent years, Dallas opted to stay relativity quiet when it came to acquiring outside talent via free agency themselves.
The Cowboys did sign cornerback Nolan Carroll to a three-year, $10 million contract. They signed defensive tackle Stephen Paea to a one-year, $2 million deal. Pass rusher Damontre Moore inked a two-year, $1.6 million contract. Offensive tackle Byron Bell signed a one-year deal worth $2 million. Finally, safety Robert Blanton agree to come to Dallas, signing for one year at $855k.
Out of this group, only Bell remains on the Cowboys current roster.
The point is, the Cowboys weren’t afraid to spend money this offseason. They just didn’t do it well. And they let some pivotal pieces go.
The fact they missed on nearly all of their free agency signings indicated Dallas has a major problem when it comes to evaluating talent from other teams.
If the Cowboys front office had to do it over again, I’d bet they would have kept veterans like Barry Church and Brandon Carr to help keep some experience within their now, very young secondary. Dallas certainly would have re-thought all of their free agency acquisitions. And maybe they would have found a way to have kept Ronald Leary, although that bridge was likely burned once they allowed Collins to replace him in the starting lineup.
The Dallas Cowboys currently sit a 5-6 and on the edge of playoff irrelevance. And that has a lot to do with the mistakes this front office made in the offseason. Let’s hope they do not repeat their mistakes in 2018.