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Dallas Cowboys Free Agency 2016: Dissecting The Words From The Boss' Mouth On Free Agency

Stephen Jones is not a tremendous fan of the free agency sweepstakes, so, with that, let's adjust our free agency thinking and look at what they may be thinking.

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Now that the Scouting Combine is about to start, there will be tons of quotes coming from the Cowboys' brass. Usually, what the Cowboys say in the offseason isn't far off from how they will operate. Stephen Jones dropped this gem when asked about his approach to free agency.

"I’m not a big fan of free agency; I’ll be the first to admit it," Jones told reporters at the NFL Scouting Combine. "Unfortunately, good players get paid like they’re great players, average players get paid like they’re good players and it’s a domino effect. It’s not a great way to put your team together."

Though, some of us, myself included, would like to see the Cowboys be aggressive to some degree in free agency, I can't disagree with his mindset. It's not as though Stephen doesn't have a clue about the holes that are currently on his roster. He's plenty aware of their need along the defensive line. He surely understands that this defense has underachieved for the better part of three seasons in the pass rush department. We're not sure exactly who the Cowboys will target in free agency, but they're likely out on paying large contracts to those expected to break some banks.

Instead, they're going to do similar to what they've done in the past few seasons. However, they may take the right gamble for the right position. I'll be steering clear of the recent news regarding their own Rolando McClain and Morris Claiborne, as Tom has that covered. With that said, here are few free agents that can help improve the Cowboys' roster immediately, without costing them too much.

Affordable Contributors:
DE, Robert Ayers, 30, NYG

At 30, Ayers is not going to grab top-dollar on the open market. However, on a really bad defense in 2015, Ayers walked away with 41 tackles, 9.5 sacks, and two forced fumbles. If the Cowboys move on from Jeremy Mincey and Greg Hardy as expected, Ayers is a guy that can still offer production and could really help bolster the Cowboys defensive line. With DeMarcus Lawrence likely taking over at right end, it makes sense to add a bridge player on the left that has versatility and production. He most likely could be had on a modest two or three-year deal.

CB, Brandon Boykin, 25, PIT

Regardless what the Cowboys do with Brandon Carr or Morris Claiborne, they need to start thinking about re-tooling their secondary around Byron Jones and Orlando Scandrick. Boykin will be a less expensive option and is still youthful. Boykin has played more of a backup role but was once a very highly-touted cornerback. Though the Eagles got him in the fourth round, nobody has done much to develop him. He's shown the ability to read quarterbacks and in limited playing time has eight career interceptions. Here is a chance for the Cowboys to take a chance on some young, cheap, with a ton of upside.

DT, Ian Williams, 26, SF

The 49er's play mostly in a 3-4 scheme but Williams has familiarity in a 4-3. He's not really a fit in the three-tech mold but as a solid, cheap, one-technique, Williams fits the bill. The Cowboys have wanted to get more athletic at the tackle position and Williams has some more wiggle than Nick Hayden. Williams was promoted to a starting role last season and was even was named a defensive captain. He's still young but shouldn't have a huge market seeing the other names ahead of him. He finished the season with only one sack and two tackles for loss, but he did have 66 tackles and a forced fumble.

CB, Casey Hayward, 26, GB

He's been on my short-list for some time now and shouldn't cost top-line money. With all the aforementioned cornerback issues, the Cowboys need reliable depth that can start for them if need be. Hayward could take a lot of pressure off the front office with his abilities in both zone and press. He's shown time and time again that he can read the quarterback and get turnovers. He's very well versed as a slot corner too, a place the Cowboys struggled at in 2015.

One Big Deal:
RB, Lamar Miller, 24, MIA

Okay, before anybody starts killing this idea, understand that Spotrac has his value at 4-years, $20.3 million. He had a 1,100 yard rushing season in 2014 but took a step back in 2015. He did finish the season stronger than it began With all the other free agents the Dolphins have to consider, is it too crazy to pay $5 million a year to a back that seems perfect for the Cowboys? Enough of the talk about Chris Ivory and Matt Forte. This is a guy that would make an early contribution and he's not going to be demanding the same amount of money as DeMarco Murray did a year ago. Teams are likely not to spend that type of money seeing how Philadelphia whiffed with him. Miller goes against the cheap free agent, but it doesn't seem too high a price to pay for his youth and production.

Stephen Jones may not like spending a lot in free agency, but in that same conversation with reporters, he said:
"You never say never," Jones said. "I think sometimes there are necessities that you need to jump out and do some things. Hopefully, you’re not really needing to have something that you’re paying a good player like he’s a great player. We’ve done it before. It doesn’t mean we won’t do it ever again, but you try not to."
There is always an exception to any rule, and if the right player came along, who knows how that discussion changes in the front office?

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