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Singles and Doubles: The Cowboys offseason strategy

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Hit or miss.

There are risky ideas that pay off. There are small moves that go unnoticed and pay off. There are risky ideas that don’t pay off. And everything in-between doesn’t count ‘cause nobody cares.

Let’s look at this in Chappelle Show terms. Challenging Charlie Murphy to a game of basketball? A risky move that paid off for Prince. Punching Charlie Murphy in the face? Risky move that did not pay off for Rick James.

Hit or miss.

Signing Charles Haley. Risky move that paid off. Signing Ken Hamlin last year to a one-year contract. Small move that went largely unnoticed at the time but paid off big time. Trading for Joey Galloway. Risky move that definitely didn’t pay off. And cutting Aaron Glenn and Marco Rivera were moves that nobody really cared about except diehard Cowboy fans.

The Star-Telegram looks at the NFL Combine and impending free agency, listing the splashy moves Dallas could make and the less risky moves that might pay off big in the future. For example, trading up to get Darren McFadden is as splashy as splashy gets. That’s a bucket of ice water right there. Perhaps signing Chris Brown would help bolster our backfield but not garner a lot of headlines. Same thing with signing Bryant Johnson or Andre Davis. Key quote:

The voices inside the Cowboys scouting department have changed in the past few months, but the message coming from the office toward owner Jerry Jones or coach Wade Phillips has remained consistent.

The Cowboys' scouts are preaching to go for singles and doubles and pass on the allure of the home run.

Silly Star-Telegram.

Do. Not. Tempt. Jerry. The Gambler.

I don’t have a problem with getting McFadden, as long as it doesn’t cost us Barber and it doesn’t cost us something ridiculous like two first round picks. I have no doubt that it will cost us that, if not more. But if he starts to fall and we move up and get him for a reasonable price, I’m all for it.

Same goes for free agency. I’m all for signing Bernard Berrian or someone comparable for a reasonable price, as opposed to the crazy money Randy Moss or Asante Samuel are looking for. I also wouldn’t mind trying to trade for Larry Fitzgerald or Roy Williams (the one that burned us two years ago in the last game of the season, not the one who got burnt).  

Rumor is the Chiefs might release Ty Law and the Falcons might release Lawyer Milloy. Might the Cowboys show any interest? Not yet. I'm thinking too old and too expensive. But the same can’t be said for Zach Thomas. I always liked this player and if he’s got something left in the tank I’m all for it. Reminds me of Dat Nyugen. Brandon gives excellent analysis on what he’d bring to our squad here.

Seems like Zach has been practicing his dance moves, making sure to memorize the song that was our defense’s unofficial theme last year -- Soulja Boy's "Crank Dat."

This message has been Soulja-Boy and Superman approved.

Sometimes you need a little divine intervention. Drew Pearson knows about it. So he called on a higher power.

Good lookin’ out, DP.

I've always been intruiged by Alan Ball and his potential. I haven't seen much of him. But from what I hear, he's got a good attitude and he has some skill. American Way, an in-flight magazine for American Airlines, has an excellent article on Ball. Basically it details the life of an NFL fringe player and his fight to make the squad. Interesting stuff.

The end of training camp comes without there having been any breakout performances by Ball, but he survives the initial cut and maintains his focus on making the final 53- man team. His hopes rest on the preseason, a four-game struggle for survival for rookies and veterans on the roster bubble. Impress the coaching staff, and you get a $285,000 non-guaranteed salary at minimum. Make them yawn, and you start sending out résumés. It’s life or death in the NFL.

Ball knows he has to find a niche in order to survive, and he spots a possible sanctuary on the special-teams squad, defending during kickoffs and punts.

"I really think I’m going to have to fight for special teams," he says early in the preseason. "I’m going to have to do something on special teams that somebody else can’t do. That’s what I’m playing for right now."

I'm pulling for you, Alan.