Let's give it up for Jerry Jones. I'm the first in line to bash Jerry when he does something that I don't like, so let me step up and say Jerry's had a pretty dang good offseason so far. Two of our best linemen from last year were free agents and the Cowboys' priority was to get them re-signed. They got Andre Gurode signed before he hit the open market, and his deal, while definitely big, almost looks like a bargain compared to what some players got in free agency. And yesterday, Jerry locked up Marc Colombo for two years at a very reasonable cost.
Keeping Gurode and Colombo in the fold allows Dallas to trot out four of the five linemen who played every game last year. Continuity along the offensive line is a valuable advantage. But four out of five is all we wanted to bring back, we had to upgrade at right guard. So Jerry went out and got a mountain of a man in Leonard Davis, who we hope is on the career revival plan in Big D.
One thing that stands out with this line is that it's HUGE. Silverblue5 did the math in this diary and gets an average of 6' 6" and 320 lbs. along our projected starting lineup. If Jason Garrett and Tony Sparano want to run a little bit of power football, they certainly have the beef to get that done.
The Davis signing is the one that raised some eyebrows and got a few chuckles, but not only does he fill our biggest need on the line this year - replacing Marco Rivera - he gives the Cowboys flexibility over the next couple of years when Flozell Adams is a free agent and when Marc Colombo's two-year deal ends. If Dallas can develop one of the young backup linemen - say Pat McQuistan - or if they draft one that is ready to start in a year or two, then they have their bases covered for the next few years.
The offensive line we have assembled shows considerable promise. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. There are still questions to be answered, and what looks great in March, might not look so good in November.
We still have to see how Flozell is going to do, let's not forget that left tackles get paid because they are always facing the best rusher. Flozell had an uneven season last year, to put it mildly. Kyle Kosier was steady at guard but he didn't exactly set the world on fire. There are still some questions about the left side of the line. On the right side, we know Leonard Davis has the size and the ability to be dominant, but so far in his career, he hasn't. The move to guard should help to mask some of his weaknesses, but we can't lose sight of the fact that he's under-achieved so far. And I don't like to resort to blaming the rest of his team or his coaches in Arizona, good players set themselves apart even on bad teams.
On top of that, Marc Colombo has to prove that he's no one-hit wonder, he needs to show he can play well on a year-to-year basis - and his knee is always a concern. Andre Gurode is a guy who coasted along for a few years before finally finding his groove last year at center. Now, he needs to do it again, and he needs to do it while earning a big, fat paycheck. Contract years can do wonders for a player's motivation, but once they get paid, sometimes you get a drop-off. That goes for Leonard Davis, too.
But overall, with respect to the offensive line, Jerry did exactly what needed to be done. He got Gurode and Colombo back, and he added Davis as a replacement for Rivera who also has the flexibility to play multiple positions. And with his size, he may turn into a force at guard.
Jerry has also done some good things beyond the offensive line. He kept our kickers intact by re-signing Mat McBriar and Martin Gramatica. He filled the backup QB position with the ever-steady Brad Johnson. He did all this without spending like a drunken sailor - well, the Davis signing was a stretch, but not too out of line with the prevailing market.
So I'm saying it now, Jerry Jones is having a good offseason.