Are the Dallas Cowboys quietly evolving their roster building strategy?

Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Cowboys had several roster holes to fill. Has the team landed on a new plug and play strategy to build their roster?

The Dallas Cowboys have been very busy in the early phases of the new league year. Yet the narrative surrounding Dallas seems to be that they have not made a ton of splashes.

The Cowboys entered the new league year with 33 free agents. According to OverTheCap, Dallas was tied with the Las Vegas Raiders for most players on the OTC free agency list.

Quietly, the Cowboys have signed, franchise tagged or agreed to terms with 21 free agents. This includes 16 members from the 2019 roster.

The cumulative value of the deals is greater than $200 million dollars over the full contract terms. The first year money is almost $100 million dollars with nearly $125 million guaranteed.

The big-ticket deals have been wide receiver Amari Cooper who agreed to a five-year $100 million contract, tight end Blake Jarwin who signed a four-year $22 million contract and corner Anthony Brown who signed a three-year $15.5 million contract. Not to be forgotten is quarterback Dak Prescott who received the exclusive franchise tag who the team hopes to sign to a long-term deal before the July 15 deadline.

The Cowboys have agreed to terms with five outside free agents with four beefing up the defense. Dallas landed Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe from the Panther to shore up the interior of the defensive line, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix from the Bears to play safety and Maurice Canady from the Jets for special teams and corner depth. Tight end Blake Bell, formerly of Kansas City, agreed to terms allowing Dallas to own the NFL monopoly of tight ends named Blake.

Of note, only five of the 21 signings were longer than one year with Prescott potentially being the sixth. This might be the beginning of a new trend in Dallas for how they build their roster.

The projected team in 2020 is very top-heavy even after the sudden retirement of center Travis Frederick. Core players like defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, running back Ezekiel Elliott, offensive linemen Tyron Smith and Zack Martin along with recently signed Cooper have all signed expensive multi-year deals at least five years in length.

The rest of the roster seems to be built with draft picks and undrafted free agents in their first four years in the league and veteran free agents playing on one year deals with a few exceptions (McCoy, Jarwin and Brown the most notable).

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With so much invested in so few players, Dallas needs roster flexibility. We might be seeing the beginning of an annual revolving free agent door.