It's been a tough couple of days since free agency started for Cowboys fans, who've watched other fans unpack their shiny new free agency presents, while the Cowboys faithful were stuck with what felt like a sweater and couple of socks from some distant in-laws.
The lack of big-name signings, coupled with the exodus of free agents, has led some to question the Cowboys' commitment to winning. Others see the Cowboys' judicious approach to free agent acquisitions and their unwillingness to overspend on their own free agents as sign that the front office is following a successful process:
All of these moves are alarmingly prudent when placed against this franchise's history of being a slot machine for star players. As one high-level NFL agent put it, "The two best days in the year are your birthday, and when Jerry Jones takes your call."
All of which begged the questions Thursday: "Which chair is Jerry Jones tied to, and how dark is the closet where he's being kept?"
Lost amid the frantic pace of free agent departures and less frantic pace of free agent signings and over the last few days is that the Cowboys have already re-signed Ronald Leary, Darrion Weems, Cameron Lawrence, Dekoda Watson, and Cole Beasley, along with two of their top three free agency priorities in Dez Bryant and Doug Free. They chose not to re-sign DeMarco Murray, just as they chose not to retain other free agents like Bruce Carter, Jermey Parnell, Henry Melton, Justin Durant, or Dwayne Harris.
Just what the Cowboys will do to fix the holes left by the departing free agents, and perhaps even upgrade those positions, is not very clear yet. The players they have brought in so far, like LB Keith Rivers, LB Jasper Brinkley, or FB Jed Collins, don't feel like immediate upgrades, but neither did Jeremy Mincey and Rolando McClain last year, as Stephen Jones recently pointed out.
"I don’t know if active is a good word," Jones said on SiriusXM NFL Radio. "I think active can get you in trouble in free agency. I think you have to be efficient and look for your values, and you can do good things.
"We did it last year with a player like Mincey where we got a lot of great value out of him. But at the same time, we’ve been in situations where you have to pay too much for players. You got to be very careful there. We’re certainly going to be that way. We’re going to look to be efficient. If that proves to be productive then that would be good."
There's no question that the Cowboys are doing exactly what they said they would, and so far they have indeed been efficient much more than active. But will that be enough?
The Cowboys probably won't make many of the "Free Agency Winners" lists that are even more ubiquitous than mock drafts at this time of year, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Which is why instead of asking you to grade the Cowboys free agency results, we're going to ask you about the Cowboys' approach to free agency in our poll of the day:
Do you approve of how the Cowboys have approached free agency in 2015?