The first couple of days after the start of NFL free agency were certainly eventful for the Dallas Cowboys. There was a lot of activity, both in former players finding new deals elsewhere and in a sudden and somewhat surprising flurry of signings to the Cowboys late on Friday afternoon. And of course, we all know how the Dallas fan base reacted: With panic and alarm.
The cowboys out here losing all our defense. Literally like every starter has left wtf #DallasCowboys— Heather Renee (@heatherrrrz) March 11, 2017
Oh, don’t you love the reactions that really stick to just the facts? At the time this is being written, the Cowboys have lost exactly four defensive players in free agency, Terrell McClain, Barry Church, J.J. Wilcox, and Jack Crawford. Church and McClain were starters all year. The rest - not so much.
Cowboys Defense was already shaky, but now they losing everybody and not doing any replacing yet— Jasmine Timms (@oh_that_Jasmine) March 11, 2017
Yeah, uh, did you not notice that the day before you tweeted this, they signed a cornerback, a defensive tackle, and a defensive end, all within the space of an hour? What exactly are you looking for to constitute “replacing”?
@TwoBitWhackJob yea. That's why the Cowboys are losing all their players on defense and signing nobody— Matt R (@Hofinator10) March 11, 2017
Hey, would you call Nolan Carroll, Stephen Paea, and Damontre Moore “nobody” to their face?
This is just a small sampling of the many overreactions out there. Space limits how many we can share, as well as the fact that a large percentage ain’t exactly family friendly. And while there are many very logical and well-reasoned comments and articles on what is happening with the Cowboys, if you go by pure volume, there seems to be a clear consensus: The season is over for Dallas, they have no defense left, now they have lost a starter on offense, rend your clothing and dump ashes on your head, the end is nigh!
This was on day three of free agency. Day three. Three. Obviously, there is no way for the Cowboys to right the ship before the season starts. All they have is the rest of the time to sign more free agents, the upcoming draft, OTAs, minicamp, training camp, and the preseason. There is no way they could ever come up with any answers.
Come on, people.
I have to admit I am a bit limited in my perspective, since I have never been a fan of another NFL team, and certainly have little experience with their fan bases outside of people I mostly ignore when they try to start Twitter beefs. So I honestly don’t know the answer to this question: Do other fans have palpitations and fainting spells when their teams lose some free agents? Is having to replace a retiring veteran (who many have wanted to see gone, anyway) a cause to abandon all hope? For teams that have had success recently (I mean, you can’t really use the Cleveland Browns for much of a gauge of anything), do the fans completely and totally dismiss how the staff handled, oh, pretty much exactly the same kinds of issues the prior year with great success, and assume there is no way they can possibly find their way through those shoals again?
It was one thing to see a lot of negativity a year ago, coming off a 4-12 season, and it was sort of expected that the team’s approach to, well, almost everything would be questioned. As they have done this year, the Cowboys similarly were rather frugal in free agency, avoiding high priced names and sticking with lower cost options that could fill those needs. They then focused on the draft to upgrade the talent.
That didn’t work out too badly, now, did it? And if you look at all closely, you see that the team is working on exactly the same blueprint this year. The reason Church, Crawford, McClain, and Wilcox were not re-signed was that the Cowboys did not want to pay what they got elsewhere. But when a real bargain presents itself, as it did with Terrance Williams, they are more than ready to step up. Dallas is patient in free agency, and it is noteworthy that neither Brandon Carr nor Morris Claiborne have received offers yet.
See, the Cowboys have figured that patience pays off, unlike many teams, and the chance to bring back some starters at a really team-friendly price is just one of the benefits of that approach. Plus there are always things the team may know that we don’t. Those can drive decisions and just leave us wondering why they do what they do.
Aaron Rodgers is famous for saying it: R-E-L-A-X. The Cowboys have a plan for the offseason, with backups and fallbacks just in case, and we have seen THREE WHOLE DAYS of what they are going to do. There are almost six months between now and the first real football game of the 2017 season. That is a lot of time to get things figured out and do what needs to be done to fix things. And along the way, be judicious about who you listen to out there. There are a lot of so-called “experts” that will say whatever generates the most attention, and that is doubly true when the topic involves the Cowboys. It is all a process, as someone once said. That means you have to take a little time to consider the whole picture before you reach your final conclusion.
Besides, you are never going to make it to the end of the season if you get that worked up now.