Jerry Jones And The Cowboys: To Splash Or Not To Splash?

There is little doubt that Jerry Jones Jerry Jones has a well-earned reputation for liking to make a big splash for his Dallas Cowboys, particularly with his player acquisition. So much so that when you google Jerry Jones and "Splash", you'll get upwards of 350,000 hits. Don't believe it? Try it yourself.

Yet when it comes to free agency, Jones has been remarkably restrained over the past two years. In 2009, the Cowboys signed Keith Brooking, Gerald Sensabaugh and Igor Olshansky. In 2010, the only activity of note was the Carpenter/Barron trade. Not a lot of splash factor there, especially after the previous signings of T.O., Pacman Jones and Roy Williams, among others.

Even the draft this year was remarkable for the lack of sizzle many have come to expect from Jones and the Cowboys:

"I’m not at all dismayed about not making a big splash," Jerry Jones said.  "The last few years we opened a stadium, hosted a Super Bowl. We’ve had splashes. With this pick, we are doing what you expect us to do, which is to do things that will win football games." 

There's little question that the Cowboys will be active in free agency once it opens this year. Jerry Jones said as much when he talked about not addressing defensive needs in the April draft:

"[Rob Ryan] knew the ones he was interested in went early and what that does is put pressure on us to get the free agents."

That is a statement that excites and worries me at the same time. Which Jerry Jones will we see in free agency? The Garrett-controlled, or at least -influenced, GM who does things that will win football games, or the swinging-for-the-fences promoter who's prone to strike out as often as not?

As much as I'd love for the Cowboys to sign a top free agent like Nnamdi Asomugha, my main concern is that the underlying assumption for that signing might be that the Cowboys are "one player away from contention", an assumption that has led to some highly questionable moves in the past.

I'd much rather see the Cowboys sign a starting safety or two and shore up the the defensive line with two ends who can actually get pressure on the passer. Also, the Cowboys probably will need to re-sign Doug Free and Stephen Bowen, and would probably like to re-sign Jason Hatcher and Kyle Kosier as well.

At this point though, Jerry Jones may be feeling a mighty itch: Cowboys Stadium is going into its third year, all that remains from the Super Bowl is some nasty litigation, and it's been a loooong since since Dallas made a big splash in free agency. And something has to happen to sell those season tickets and luxury boxes, right? So what should Jerry do?

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