Dallas Cowboys playing it cool during a hot free agency

DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 17: Owner Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys stands on the sidelines before the game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 17, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO - SEPTEMBER 17: Owner Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys stands on the sidelines before the game against the Denver Broncos at Sports Authority Field at Mile High on September 17, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Matthew Stockman/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Cowboys have been very deliberate during this free agency period. While others are transacting away, the Cowboys seem to have a plan of patience.

As the  NFL free agency period has been underway for some time now, the Dallas Cowboys haven’t necessarily been at the forefront of the news. Aside from a few signings here or there, they have practically been non-existent. This seems to be all by design though, and here’s why their patience just may pay off.

Leading up to this period and all throughout, Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones has been adamant in expressing where his concerns are. While a ton of other teams are spending money, trading players, and maxing out deals, he made it known that re-signing the Cowboys own free agents was where his priorities were.

The face of this movement is none other than Cowboys’ defensive lineman DeMarcus Lawrence, who was franchised for the second straight year at the beginning of March. Although the franchise tag would pay him roughly $20 million this season, Lawrence and his representation have made it known that they don’t plan to sign the tender, in search of a long-term deal.

Outside of offering Lawrence the tender, the Dallas Cowboys brought back linebacker Justin March-Lillard and safety Darian Thompson. They also re-signed long snapper L.P. Ladouceur and defensive tackle Daniel Ross, while exercising team options on wide out Allen Hurns, center Joe Looney, and linebacker Joe Thomas. As Jones said, taking care of their own was a priority.

In terms of new Cowboys, they haven’t been overly aggressive in this area. They signed defensive lineman Kerry Hyder Jr., former Green Bay Packer stud wide receiver Randall Cobb, and most recently former Minnesota Viking safety George Iloka. However, what does this all say about the Cowboys?

Well, there are a few different ways to view this. The initial reactions are probably to the tune of confusion, wondering if the Dallas front office is actually aware of their needs and paying attention to the market. The second reaction may be that these are lazy moves, made to save face due to the lack of transactions and acquisitions.

The reaction that should be taking place is that they are taking their time and exercising a proper amount of patience. This would be the correct way to view this scenario. When looking at the re-signings and acquisitions thus far, they were all areas of need for the Cowboys.

Defensive depth, and especially along the defensive front, has been an area of need all the while. This was even more so with two potential lineman along that front essentially taking themselves off the field, permanently in some cases and hopefully temporarily in others. Former slot man Cole Beasley left for the Buffalo Bills, which created a void at that position, and then they signed Randall Cobb.

As mutual admiration between safety Earl Thomas and the Cowboys seemed as though it would land the two together, he eventually signed with the Baltimore Ravens. The Cowboys also flirted around with the idea of signing former Kansas City Chiefs’ star Eric Berry, but that never came to fruition, so George Iloka was a great signing. What does it all mean though?

If you read the tea leaves, and the terms of the contracts they’ve given out thus far, it could only mean one thing. The Cowboys are currently valuing depth and the NFL Draft over going out and potentially over paying for one guy or two.

As mentioned, the aforementioned signings were for areas of need, but that won’t stop the Cowboys from also drafting players that play in those same positions. This is also a built-in benefit of signing the good players that they did like Cobb and Iloka, for only decent money in the grand scheme of it all.

With this particular draft being a defensive draft in the eyes of many, and one littered with top-notch defensive line prospects, the Cowboys could surely grab a couple of value picks or even steals to fill voids. Never mind the first round pick given up in the Amari Cooper trade either, as another interesting factor being thrown around about this draft is that the value is actually in rounds 2-5. That speaks to the depth of talent available.

One thing that is for sure, is that this isn’t the same organization from past years. In past seasons, the splash move or the big name signing would have definitely been right up their alley. Being that the Cowboys haven’t won a Superbowl since the 90’s, it’s probably a good thing that they didn’t continue to carry on in the same manner.

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The Dallas Cowboys seem to be content on being cautious right now, and that is the best course of action. By making a few key signings at positions of need, and then choosing to wait to sprinkle in young talent from a deep draft class of prospects, it appears they may finally have this thing figured out.  That is why the Cowboys have been playing it cool during a hot free agency period, and it could pay off in a major way.