If you just read the coverage that focuses on mystery videos and such concerning the Dallas Cowboys, you would be either wringing your hands in despair or chortling in glee at the twists and turns that seem to be going on in Valley Ranch, depending on how you feel about the team. The dilemma of how to keep both Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray is painted as huge and difficult to overcome. And the impending use of the franchise tag on Bryant has led to speculation of how the Cowboys need to be searching for a replacement for him since the team seems unlikely to work out a long term deal with their star.
We now interrupt the always popular stream of Cowboys oriented articles intended to generate clicks and address what is really going on. As has been clear would happen to rational close observers of the team since the negotiations to complete a contract broke down last fall, Dallas has officially announced plans to use the franchise tag for Bryant in order to buy time to get to the "Cowboy for life" deal that both sides really want. Meanwhile, also not surprising to those who have been paying attention, the team will let Murray test the free agent market to determine if they can afford him under the salary cap. And as if to prove that they can multitask well, they are also reportedly closing in on a deal to lock up Cole Beasley for a few seasons.
It is, if you haven't heard, called a process. And despite all the attempts to show otherwise, the Cowboys are following it calmly and methodically.
Despite the occasional feelings of frustration that so many in the media cannot relinquish the old and outdated memes about Dallas, there is a certain sense of amusement that accompanies all this. Jason Garrett has not only shaped his team into a playoff contender, he has inspired the ownership and management to go about things in a much better way than in the past. While there is a growing acceptance that just maybe the Cowboys know what they are doing, most clearly demonstrated by the recent awarding of Executive of the Year to Jerry Jones (which he correctly attributes to his entire management team), large segments of the media still don't quite grasp the new normal in Dallas.
The Cowboys have a very complex puzzle to solve with the large number of free agents it has this year, but they are showing that they are well equipped to handle it. While some compromises are inevitable, fans can feel confident that they will make the best of the situation. They do face the real possibility that they might lose Murray if he decides to cash in on the opportunity he has after being named the Offensive Player of the Year, but they will not be likely to make rash decisions or overspend to replace him if it becomes necessary. They will find a way to keep Bryant, whose skill set is more unique and harder to replace than Murray's. The impending deal for Beasley is a smaller scale version of the same decision making process, since he is also a rather unique and valuable player who is not as easy to find in the draft as a productive running back.
Similarly, the same judgement will be applied to the rest of the roster. There will be drama as the team makes a lot of decisions, including difficult ones. Some players will be lost in free agency that many would prefer to keep, but that is simply the reality of the cap era. Don't be misled by the more ill-informed speculations. Pay attention to what the key figures with the team, especially executive vice president Stephen Jones, are saying. There are credible sources for your Cowboys information, and we will do all we can to remain one of them here at Blogging the Boys.