In less than a week, the free market will be open in the National Football League and teams will start getting into bidding wars for veteran players. Don't expect the Dallas Cowboys to be one of them, but that doesn't mean they won't be players at all. The conflict is that the Cowboys used to be perennial players in the free agency frenzy, but after multiple large contracts for very little production, they have decided to change their philosophy.
For today, let's look at some of the guys that are set to hit the market, revisit their abilities, and tackle a few rumors out there about what the Cowboys may look to do.
What we know is that the Cowboys usually look at their holes and use free agency as a way to get them to Sunday. They typically fill each hole with an affordable-but-talented option, then look at the draft to fill out the roster and build the future of their team with young, cheap talent. Let's digest some of the things we've seen and read over the past week or so.
Cutting Brandon Carr, Signing Adam "Pacman" Jones
I've always been a proponent of releasing Brandon Carr because of the money they can save doing so. We will have to wait and see what they would rather do - cut Carr and get close to $7 million in savings or designate him as a post-June 1 and get $9 million. Either way, the Cowboys are rumored to be looking to dump the former $50 million dollar investment from 2012.
That's not where this story ends though because Adam Jones has entered the conversation after he was seen at the same restaurant the Cowboys were eating at in Indianapolis. "Pacman" is no stranger to the Cowboys as they gave him an opportunity in 2008 but he failed the organization.
Jones went on to Cincinnati, where he resurrected his career and had his best season in 2015 at the age of 32. Jones was ranked 15th by Pro Football Focus receiving an 83.3 grade. That is certainly not bad for an older corner and Jones is no slouch either. However, he'll be 33 years old this offseason and though cornerbacks have played well into their 30's, the Cowboys have to be careful here. Then there is the possibility that this is all a bunch of nonsense. The Cowboys could be looking to get Brandon Carr back on a reduced salary. It's all relative, here.
Verdict: It's not likely that the Cowboys are going after Janoris Jenkins because that would fall right into the big-ticket free agent category. Don't overpay good players like they are great players. They need to move on from Brandon Carr and Jones is not a bad option to consider. Get him on a team-friendly deal and maybe he finishes his career a Cowboy while giving Dallas solidification at a position of need.
Mario Williams To Save The Pass Rush
The Cowboys are almost certainly moving on from Greg Hardy, but why all of a sudden are some interested in Mario Williams? The Buffalo Bills cut him after signing him just a few years ago. Williams went from 14.5 sacks in 2014 to 5 sacks in 2015. There is a lot of folks out there citing issues between Rex Ryan and Williams. Then there are those that say he "quit" on them. An unnamed teammate was the first to give that report. Pete Prisco of CBS said that many general managers have seen his tape, and are inclined to believe those reports.
When he was released Tuesday, making him free to sign anywhere he wants, I contacted three general managers and asked if they thought Williams dogged it. "Badly," one said.
"The tape I watched this morning was awful," another general manager said.
He is being kind. Forget the ability. We know players who get older have their skills erode, and Williams is 31 and coming off his 10th season, but this was much more than that. In many of Williams' games, he appeared to have one of those wink-wink deals guys make in practice. I won't go hard if you don't. Let's just make it look good.
Verdict: When you look at the video of his play in Prisco's samples, you see a guy who looks to give a lot less than his all. What's the truth in this story? Who really knows, but if he is placed in this scheme and succeeds then maybe he wasn't a fan of Ryan's system. I just don't know if you are going to get this guy at a decent price and those quotes are pretty scary.
Colt McCoy Being Courted To Be QB2 In Dallas?
Not going to lie, I've been using Colt McCoy as my pick for the Cowboys backup. I know that Jerry Jones made comments that Kellen Moore can win in the NFL, he's wrong. McCoy was seen at a Longhorns basketball game this week sitting next to Tony Romo and Jason Witten. Bryan Broaddus even spoke to the tune that he knows Cowboys players that would stand on the table to bring in McCoy. Could he be talking about Romo and Witten? It's not uncommon to see McCoy at a local Austin event, especially at his alma mater, but what's the significance of Duke fans' Romo and Witten being next to him?
Verdict: I see a signing brewing here if McCoy is willing to part Washington. He's a smart, reliable player that has shown the ability to play well when asked to. He's not going to make many mistakes and may be one of the best veteran options out there. It also doesn't handicap their ability to draft one either. It's viable that the Cowboys are really interested in McCoy and that they just used their two most prominent players to coax him away from Washington.
Could Arian Foster Make Sense For The Cowboys?
Mark Brunell of ESPN said that Foster to the Cowboys just makes too much sense. He talks about how good of a player that Foster is and then says this:
"Jerry Jones can say all he wants how comfortable he is with his current running backs, but they need somebody. You need that 1-2 punch in today’s football. ... Darren McFadden had a good season last year [for the Cowboys]. Pretty solid, over 1,000 yards. But injuries are always a concern."
Well, first of all, he is right in a sense. Arian Foster is a very good player and has doubled the amount of 1,000 yards seasons as McFadden has had.
Verdict: The problem is that Foster has a litany of injuries too and it makes Brunell's point almost null and void. He's only played a full season twice and can't get on the field. Why on earth would you have two running backs with large injury histories as your one and two? The best route for the Cowboys is to get younger and draft someone this season. McFadden and Foster are both aging running backs with Foster almost a year older than McFadden. It just doesn't make any sense. Mark, please.
With free agency opening, the Cowboys are going to open quietly as they have been for the last several years. It doesn't mean they won't pounce on a guy or two, but it'll certainly be on their terms.