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Cowboys’ Offseason Plan Becoming Clearer

David Irving and Benson Mayowa

We’re a handful of days into free agency and the Dallas Cowboys have been sitting on the sidelines taking it all in. There has been little movement from the team and they haven’t even seemed to have much interest in any of the players who have hit the streets. It was a no on Tyrann Matheiu, no on Josh Sitton, looks like a no on Ndamukong Suh, no on Jonathan Hankins and a host of other players fans recognize.

Instead, the Cowboys have watched Anthony Hitchens, Benson Mayowa, Keith Smith, Kyle Wilber, and Orlando Scandrick walk out the door. So far, the only moves the team has made was with their own free agents, franchising DeMarcus Lawrence and tendering David Irving with a second round designation.

Much like the last few offseasons, this has been the plan all along. Re-sign the guys you like on your own team and get in on the second and third tier free agents. Fans hate it because it looks like the Cowboys just aren’t trying. Right now, it’s certainly annoying to watch other teams get better when Dallas and the Joneses are sitting idly by.

Yet it’s still surprising for us to watch a once aggressive franchise become so tentative, especially when a few solid pieces would help. Sitton didn’t get a ton of money, nor did the Honey Badger, but Dallas didn’t seem interested in either player. It’s hard to understand why.

Here’s what the plan appears to be from the outside looking in. We know the Cowboys have shifted from paying big money to average players in free agency and are more focused on paying their own top-tier guys. It also looks part of the strategy was to tag Irving, a guy who should be a priority for the Cowboys, as a second round pick to entice a team to give up a high second rounder and use it as trade bait. Dallas would then have two options, use the extra second round pick to move up in the draft or to use it as currency to get Earl Thomas in a trade.

Both are viable paths, but when you need pass rushers and have one coming into his prime (Irving), there is no reason to tempt fate. The Cowboys should have put a first round tender on a blossoming player who has shown flashes of dominance.

The Cowboys are operating as if they are one player away from winning the Super Bowl. That just isn’t the case, they aren’t far off competing for one, but they need some key pieces. Ironically, there are players who have been available to help, yet the team just doesn’t seem interested.

Here’s what it boils down to, the Cowboys believe they can win with their offensive line and having Ezekiel Elliott for a full 16 games. The organization saw what the team can do with a dominant running game in two of the last four years and witnessed them fall short after missing Zeke for six games and Tyron Smith for three last season.

This team truly believes they can win the whole thing if the offensive line and Zeke are on the field for 16 games. Their belief is that all they need is one big upgrade (banking on Earl Thomas), a few second tier upgrades in free agency and hitting on a draft pick or two, preferably a wide receiver and a linebacker, and they will be fine.

To those outside the Cowboys, it seems far-fetched, sitting out on players or investing in trades that could help this team when everyone else is making moves to get better. But they truly seem to believe in this philosophy of keeping their own and not paying outside players.

It’s a stubborn philosophy and they need to have more flexibility (we stated the same in an article a few weeks ago), but it doesn’t seem to be the way they want to operate now. They don’t need to overspend on average players, but it’s maddening how close minded they appear to be. A few moves for some better players could do wonders for the Cowboys.

We’ve reached week two in free agency and the anxiousness is ramped up for Cowboys Nation. They are the only team to not make an outside move so far and there are players who can help.

It’s the second wave now, the Dallas Cowboys are ready to make their moves, right?

You can chat with or follow Ben on twitter @BenGrimaldi

Ben Grimaldi

Ben Grimaldi

Cowboys Desk Sr. Analyst ProFootBallTalkLine.com at SportsTalkLine
Cowboys Desk Sr. Analyst on ProFootBallTalkLine.Com. Associate sports producer. Let's talk sports! On Twitter @BenGrimaldi and Podcasting for STL!
Ben Grimaldi