Has the Dallas Cowboys’ free agency really been that bad?

Jayron Kearse, Dallas Cowboys (Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
Jayron Kearse, Dallas Cowboys (Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) /
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Dallas Cowboys, Jayron Kearse
Dallas Cowboys Jayron Kearse (27) Mandatory Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports /

Discussing the remaining Dallas Cowboys’ free agent signings to see whether they were helpful or not

Continuing with a steady theme, Dallas brought back linebacker Leighton Vander Esch for one year at $2 million. As with other moves, there is both good and bad.

On one hand, Vander Esch did play better at the end of the season. After an impressive rookie year, his numbers have been on a rapid decline ever since. Figuring out what version of Vander Esch the Cowboys are getting will help determine how good this deal ends up looking In the end, it’s hard to get mad at picking up a reliable starter for $2 million which makes this another move that earns a B grade.

The best actual free-agent signing is yet another re-signing as Dallas brought back safety Jayron Kearse for two years and $10 million. Kearse was arguably the third-best player on last year’s defense. His attitude and grasp of the defense were only slightly more vital than his actual play as he led the team in tackles while doing a great job covering opposing tight ends. Losing Kearse would have created a huge void at the safety spot. His return, along with Hooker’s, now makes this a position of strength and earns this deal an A- grade.

The Cowboys also locked up two-thirds of their 2021 special teams priorities, giving long-snapper Jake McQuaide a one-year deal worth $1.12 million and Pro Bowl punter Bryan Anger for three years and $9 million.

Anger’s deal has not been completely released, but ESPN’s Todd Archer is reporting that his 2022 base salary will be just $1.4 million which means both of the deals are extremely team-friendly. As such, I will give both moves B+ grades.

All in all, according to my pre-free agency list of importance, Dallas has managed to retain four of their top six priorities and both guys I thought would assuredly go elsewhere. While they did lose their most important free agent and still have holes on the roster (the offensive line immediately comes to mind), their free agency shopping has not been as terrible as it initially felt.

It might not be exciting but with the Cowboys, free agency will rarely, if ever will be more than a way to build depth cheaply.

Next. Ranking 4 of Cowboys Biggest Offseason Losses. dark