I was thinking about this the other day...are the Cowboys an attractive destination for free agents? I mean, it would be intuitive to believe that successful teams would be the most attractive to prospective players. Winning is a heck of lot more fun than losing, and lockers that have to endure losing al the time, would really suck. Winning a Championship has to be the ultimate goal of any player, so choosing a competitive team has to be a priority. With the Cowboys being 8-8 for the last 3 seasons, why would any free agent player pick the Cowboys over say a playoff team if the contract offer was the same? Are the Cowboy's a draw over other teams when the same money is on the table?
1) The Cowboys will always be the "The Main Stage". They have as large a fan base as anybody, and they also have what no other team has, the largest group of fans that hate their guts. Fans that will tune in just to root for the other team. This is why they are far and above the TV rating winner every year, even surpassing Superbowl champions, whoever they are. The Cowboys are the most polarizing team in the NFL and that has a special cache. You play for the Cowboys and you will get more than your fair share of the limelight. You will always have opportunities to play in the maximum alloted "nationally televised" games. No players will be "obscure" in Dallas. If you play well, everyone will know your name.
2) Money. The Cowboys aren't "penny pichers". Players and agents always know that they will NOT get the "runaround" with Dallas, and if they say something, they mean it. The Cowboys will pay their players "fair market" and they won't jerk players/agents around with haggling over little things. It's evident with how Stephen handled rookie contracts before the recent CBA rookie pay scale. The Cowboys were almost always the last team to sign their rookies before training camp. Not because they didn't have the money, or they didn't want to get it done sooner. They did it because they didn't want to waste time and effort in trying to set the market. They waited till all the slotting got negotiated by other teams, then went in to the player and told them exactly what players got before they were picked and after, and proceded to offer a contract smack dab in between those to contracts. Bam bam things got signed with a paucity of resources or effort. (see note at bottom)
3) Player are fans of the Cowboys. Some may laugh about this but more times than not you hear how incoming players are fans of the team. Our newest recruit Mincey is a fan. How about when Vickers told the story about his father was a longtime fan and how he would be proud to know he was a Cowboy. Having love for a team won't get you a deep discount on the contract, but when it comes to "tie-breakers" it can be an important one...
4) You have the most personable owner in the NFL with Jerry Jones. You can criticize Jerry for a lot of things, but you will rarely hear a player or agent say anything bad about him. To a fault, he is always loyal to his players, and never considers them a number on a ledger. Jerry has a zeal for the game beyond the money. Jerry stood outside of the visitor's dressing room of his own stadium waiting for the Steelers to get done with their post game logistics, before walking into the room to shake Flozelle Adam's hand and "visit" with him. How many owners would go out of his way to visit with an ex-player? You don't think the rest of the Steeler players see that? You don't think that story gets around? Go ask Mincey what he thinks of Jerry, Jerry was telling him to go "rub" the Lombardi trophies in his office. How many NFL owners can get a player fired up? You don't think that's a selling point when the owner of the team is "hands on" when they are trying to recruit you? It's all about salesmanship and Jerry can sell.
5) Cowboys are the best recruiters in the league. Go read about how they recruited Brandon Carr. They had this guy so fired up, with the private jet, Cowboy bus, Stadium tour, catered dinner at the Stadium with a smattering of the best Cowboys players asking him to join the team. Carr had "stars" in his eyes from the visit. In Carr’s words, the Cowboys "laid out the red carpet and brought the house." There was interest from other teams, but Carr said, at that point his mind was made up. No other visits were needed.
So, I laugh when I hear fans of other team's say..."why would anyone choose to go to Dallas". Those fans have no clue.
NOTE: Although I feel the Cowboys aren't afraid to spend money, I certainly don't think they are overly foolish with it either. I think they make realtive sound decsions based on the information they had at the time. There have been many critics of Miles Austin's contract, but there were few detractors when that was handed out. Same with Doug Free. I've always thought it was a false meme that the Cowboys always over pays and gives out too many "bad" contracts, Name a bad "big money" contract and I'm sure I can debunk your theory. The only one that I will not defend is the Ratliff contract given out a couple of years ago. The Cowboys had a pro-bowl caliber player signed for a very advantageous contract until Jerry opened his big mouth at the annual kick-off luncheon, and that cost the Cowboys needless millions. That was stupid.