PFF’s ‘least favorite’ Cowboys free agency move shows how great offseason was
By Jerry Trotta
Are the Dallas Cowboys having the best offseason of any NFL team? Perhaps, but you wouldn’t be called crazy if you made that argument.
Dallas entered free agency with one task: retain as many defensive players as possible. When the dust settled, they re-signed Donovan Wilson, Leighton Vander Esch, Johnathan Hankins, and Dante Fowler to team-friendly deals.
They put forth a masterclass in terms of negotiating contracts, and hit two more home runs by trading for Brandin Cooks and Stephon Gilmore.
Did we mention they reworked Tyron Smith’s contract to give them more cap flexibility while maintaining an easy out next year if his injury troubles persist? Like we said, there hasn’t been much not to like so far.
With free agency winding down now that draft month has arrived, Pro Football Focus’ Brad Spielberger took the initiative to underline his favorite and least favorite free agency move from all 32 teams.
While Spielberger waxed poetic about the Gilmore and Cooks trade, his least favorite Cowboys move makes very little sense.
PFF’s least favorite Cowboys free agency move is confusing
Spielberger isn’t a fan of Dallas splurging on veterans. More specifically, he coined “No injection of youth” his least favorite Cowboys move.
"Dallas did well to retain internal free agents, including an exciting young player in safety Donovan Wilson, but most of their re-signings are closer to 30 years old, as were their two trade acquisitions. A little injection of youth could’ve been nice, though Dallas tends to draft well and still has a pick in all seven rounds to do so even after acquiring Cooks and Gilmore."
Wait, what? So a team that’s seemingly all in to win a Super Bowl next season should have added more inexperienced players? Gilmore and Cooks have played in a combined three Super Bowls, have produced throughout their careers regardless of scheme or team success, and are regarded as great teammates.
We’re all for injecting youth, but the Cowboys’ young core is as rich as any team’s. Micah Parsons, CeeDee Lamb, Trevon Diggs, and Tony Pollard are each 25 years old or younger. Tyler Smith just turned 22 and is poised to be the team’s left tackle of the future, ascending DL Osa Odighizuwa won’t turn 25 until August, Leighton Vander Esch recently turned 27, and 2022 draft picks DaRon Bland and Damone Clark are slated to start as sophomores and are 23 and 22, respectively.
That’s not to say the Cowboys have had a perfect offseason. The loss of Carlos Watkins punctuates the roster’s lack of DT depth. Johnathan Hankins returning is big, but not adding another interior defender could’ve made the cut.
As could’ve not adding a Connor McGovern replacement. While Dallas is expected to address both positions in the draft, either one would’ve sufficed instead of “No injection of youth.”
If nothing else, Spielberger’s stance just underlines the fact that the Cowboys have put together an awesome offseason thus far.