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Big-Name Free Agents May Not Be On Cowboys Agenda

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Nnamdi Asomugha. Johnathan Joseph. Eric Weddle. Michael Huff. Dawan Landry. Cullen Jenkins.

All are big name free agents. All have been linked to the Cowboys repeatedly. And if the most recent Cowboys history is anything to go by, none of them are going to end up in Dallas.

Last year, the Cowboys were not active in free agency, and the year before they brought in three free agents in Keith Brooking, Gerald Sensabaugh and Igor Olshansky. And before brushing off those acquisitions, keep in mind that they were part of an 11-5 Cowboys team that won its first playoff game in over a decade.

What those three had in common was that none of them were what could be described as the cream of the crop of free agents that year.

In fact, all three were arguably a lot closer to the bottom than the top of the free agent class at their positions. A look at the 2008 data from ProFootballFocus.com confirms this. Take Keith Brooking. The five-time Pro Bowler was given a -10.5 final season grade by PFF in 2008. That ranked Brooking 47th out of 55 4-3 OLBs that year. It's a similar story for both other signings, as can be seen in the table below:

Brooking Sensabaugh Olshansky
2008 PFF Grade -10.5 -10.8 -9.6
Position Rank 47/53 78/83 26/28

If their 2008 activities are anything to go by, the Cowboys may end up pursuing some pretty unheralded players in free agency.

How would safeties Abram Elam (-4.1, CLE), Brodney Pool (+2.5, NYJ) or Sean Considine (-7.8, JAC) sound? Or how do defensive ends Ray McDonald (+5.4, SF), Shaun Smith (+6.5, KC) or Tony McDaniel (+6.8, MIA) grab you?

Big-name free agents are what makes discussing free agent options fun. But when was the last time the Cowboys signed a big-name free agent that actually worked out? It may be time to get familiar with some of the lesser known free agents out there.

Of course, the Cowboys may very well go out and sign some of the premier free agents available. I am very willing to learn how to spell Nnamdi Asomugha correctly (so far, I just copy/paste), but I'll put that off until the day he actually becomes a Cowboy.