On Wednesday, ESPN released a “Super Bowl Buzz” article (subscription required) that detailed several rumors and thoughts about the state of the NFL. ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler and Dan Graziano put together the bulletin with information from their best NFL sources.
The article discusses the futures of Aaron Rodgers and Aaron Donald, the possibility of Sean McVay retiring, and many other topics. Among the chatter was this disheartening quote about the Dallas Cowboys: “There’s a feeling around the league that the Cowboys might have blown their best chance at a title in the current window.”
Of course, that idea itself isn’t breaking news. But the fact that high-level league sources are saying the top people in the NFL feel that way is not a good thing. This feeling is likely because Dallas had a star-studded roster this year full of both young and veteran talent. Heading into March, a whopping 24 of those players will be hitting free agency. Some names aren’t too concerning. But others like Randy Gregory, Michael Gallup, Dalton Schultz, Cedrick Wilson, and Jayron Kearse are cause for worry.
To add insult to injury, even though Jerry Jones has what seems like limitless pockets, the Cowboys are currently the third-worst in the NFL in terms of cap space (negative $21 million). This means keeping roster favorites and getting free-agent talent for positional needs is going to be extremely difficult for the Dallas front office. There will be cap casualties and Cowboys Nation will have to say goodbye to some of its favorite guys.
ESPN’s top NFL sources say that Cowboys blew their best chance at the Super Bowl in the current window
It’s one thing for fans to be frustrated that their team didn’t make the Super Bowl. New York Jets fans feel that way every year. But Jets fans know their team has no chance. It’s a whole other thing to not make or win the Super Bowl when your roster is the best it’s been in years. Graziano talks about the fact that Gregory would not likely turn down a monster deal in Dallas just to stay with the Cowboys out of gratitude.
He also mentions that guys like DeMarcus Lawrence and Amari Cooper could save Dallas money so they might be gone due to cap issues. Cutting these two doesn’t even fully get the Cowboys back to even, and they would still need to address key positional needs like defensive line and offensive line. It’s always difficult for any team to repeat success. But when a team sees as much turnover as the Cowboys probably will, it’s even more difficult.
Blogging The Boys posted the full quote from Graziano about why he feels Dallas messed up big time. While some outlets still have the Cowboys in their top ten for next season, there is definitely a lot in the air. Here’s an excerpt from the quote:
"“The Cowboys clearly have the talent. They have the quarterback, the receivers, the Micah Parsons-led defense. The NFC East remains weak beyond Dallas — and the NFC, as a whole, looks like it’s going to be pretty wide open for the next few years. It’s time for “America’s Team” to finally live up to the hype.” -Graziano"
Next season will be a huge test for Dallas. They are going to have different personnel due to cap struggles, but they will still have many of the same faces. If the returning coaching staff and whatever the roster ends up being can’t live up to the non-stop hype that Dallas always gets, it could mean a huge restructure in 2023.