For a team that is constantly looking to upgrade it’s talent, there have been very few Dallas Cowboys free agents to hold up as solutions to this issue. With the Cowboys track record regarding free agency it’s looking like Jerry Jones is finally starting to realize that you can use free agency to look for gold nuggets, but you have to build a team through the draft in order to compete in the NFL.
This football lesson may have taken a few years to sink in, but recent Cowboys free agents, or rather the lack of them speaks volumes about the realities the Cowboys brain trust is finally (?) embracing.
Here is a quick review of notable free agency transactions over the past few years.
2011 Cowboys Free Agents
- Doug Free got 10.3 million signing bonus on his six year deal
- Marcus Spears got a 3.5 million signing bonus
- Hatcher 1.8 million signing bonus
- Kyle Kosier 2.1 million signing bonus
- Released RB Barber, WR Roy Williams, OL Leonard Davis and Marc Columbo
The Cowboys spent their money on their own players. Stephen and Jerry’s love of the big signing bonus as a cap tool is in full view as the cap problems of 2014 have solid roots in 2011.
2012 Cowboys Free Agents
- Brandon Carr – 50.1 million dollars
- Lawrence Vickers
- Dan Connor
- Kyle Orton
- Nate Livings – 6.2 million guaranteed
- Mackenzy Bernadeau
- Brodney Pool
- Released OL Kyle Kosier, CB Terence Newman & K David Buehler
In a reversal from 2011, the Cowboys go’ all-in’ landing a group of players touted as a playoff push. The Cowboys get their man, Brandon Carr, but overpay as market dictates price and Dallas begins a painful reminder of how the free agency marketplace is buyer beware. Trimming of contract fat that began in 2011 continues as Koiser, Newman and Buehler are all released.
2013 Cowboys Free Agents
- George Selvie
- Ben Bass
- Unknown number of DL
- Chris DeGeare
- Caesar Rayford
- Ray Dominguez
Back in the day (1989), plan B free agency was a new thing and Jimmy Johnson abused it in his first year to totally overhaul his roster. Each week was a new try out as the losses piled up, but the talent improved immeasurably. Much like the Cowboys were forced to do last year due to injury, with no cap space and many needs the Cowboys begin doing the Jimmy Johnson thing. Replacing the bottom of the roster. The end result was that a few gold nuggets seem to have been unearthed and zero damage was done to the Cowboys long term cap position.
Many on the list were not hits, until you get past the big ticket items and look at the free agency bargains. That’s what free agency is for if your team is rebuilding. You don’t need a $50,000,000 man. What you need is as many guys you can get that will make your team better and cap flexibility to sign players long term once they prove themselves. Cap space, or the lack of it is often given credit for the Cowboys recent frugality. There certainly has to be more than a grain of truth to that, but it also looks like a lesson may be creeping in the brain pan of the guys who sign the checks that there is a better way to spend their money. Big ticket items may make the headlines, but it’s the blue light specials that will get your team over the hump.
What say you Cowboys Nation?
Another Left Coast Cowboys Post: on Twitter – Steven Van Over