It sure has been a different kind of offseason for the Cowboys. As fans of the Cowboys, we're not used to them doing anything on the cheap. Jerry Jones has money and likes to spend money, albeit sometimes very unwisely. You can debate how much of the change this offseason is due to previous bad contracts coming home to roost, or how much the Cowboys may have finally started to go in a different direction, but one thing is for sure, they went shopping at the Dollar Store this offseason.
The latest contracts handed out by the Cowboys? Pretty slim. Defensive tackle Amobi Okoye and running back Ryan Williams got exactly $0 dollars in signing bonuses and guaranteed money. The Cowboys signed Okoye to a two-year deal worth $730,000 in 2013 and $870,000 in 2015. No money guaranteed. Ryan Williams got a one-year deal worth $570,000, no money guaranteed.
This reflects a continued strategy that was set in motion when the Cowboys decided to part ways with DeMarcus Ware. For a while, I didn't believe that could ever happen because of Jerry Jones' loyalty to his veterans and his love of star players. Even with the Cowboys up against the cap, they could have kept Ware and done some more restructuring. But they didn't. They decided a defensive player over 30 years old at that price was just too much. They also resisted rolling out big bucks to Jason Hatcher. In the past, Jerry would have moved heaven and earth to make these contracts work out, but this year, this offseason, the Cowboys decided that strategy wasn't working any more.
The free agency haul was all about bargains. Granted, a lot of these bargains have injury issues like Henry Melton, Anthony Spencer and the aforementioned Okoye. But others were players they think have talent but have been overlooked for whatever reasons. Guys like Jeremy Mincey and Terrell McClain.
Anthony Spencer is the one guy they actually brought back among their aging or injured stars. They probably could have had Miles Austin back at a remarkably cheap price. The Browns signed him for $300,000 guaranteed and a non-guaranteed base of $1.7 million. Dallas decided an aging and injury-prone receiver wasn't worth that. I'm not sure in past years if they would have chosen to do that or not. Jones and Co. seemed to hold on to their stars a little longer than they should have done.
We'll see if this new trend continues in the future. A frugal Jerry Jones just seems so odd. Once they get some real room under the cap, will they go back to doling out huge contracts to aging vets? Will they throw money around in free agency like they just hit on 10 more oil wells? We'll have to wait and see.
Hopefully, Stephen Jones and Jason Garrett will be able to help Jerry resist shiny objects. Maybe it's already working, they did pass on Johnny Manziel.