Excuse us if we don’t seem to get all the hoopla surrounding this exodus of Cowboys as damning to the team’s 2017 hopes. It’s true; Dallas has lost players that played significant snaps in 2016, but is it a loss if you don’t really miss them?
It’s time to stop pretending like the Dallas Cowboys just lost a plethora of Pro Bowlers. In fact, you know how many Pro Bowlers just left? Zero. Look, realizing that this sounds facetious, not every good player or quality player is judged by Pro Bowls. We know that a team needs depth and guys that play a role. However, if you would see the reactions and overreactions of everyone from fans to media members, you would think the Cowboys’ just lost their best players.
The truth is that the Cowboys lost all four of their free agent defensive backs. Brandon Carr is gone to the Ravens, Morris Claiborne to the Jets, J.J. Wilcox to the Buccaneers, and Barry Church to the Jaguars. Outside of Church, I fail to see a true drive to keep any of them. I’m not alone in those sentiments
Funny how fans suddenly loved these defensive backs... the only one who wasn't a jag is actually going to Jacksonville. It'll be fine.— Nick Eatman (@nickeatman) March 17, 2017
Thanks for your honesty, Nick.
Morris Claiborne has been “turning it on” for three seasons now, but the reality is that he missed nine games last year bringing his grand total to 33 of 80 potential games missed due to injury. Brandon Carr, who is a class act and a solid player, is not a playmaker and has had one interception in three years despite being paid like a top cornerback talent. J.J. Wilcox had been abused for years for taking awful angles and whiffing on tackles. Barry Church priced himself way out of the Cowboys’ range for a solid but not fantastic strong safety.
Would the Cowboys have liked to keep one or two of these guys? Well sure, at the right price. Everything you needed to know about their interest level is evident by how they let every single one of their free agents go out and test the waters. The front office is prepared to not only get younger but get better at the position. They certainly picked the right year to do it.
Make no mistake, this is a great year to be drafting defensive backs and the Cowboys will be revamping their entire secondary. The Cowboys found a starting cornerback in Anthony Brown in the sixth round! What do you think their chances are of hitting in this class? Another piece of truth, Brown gave the Cowboys the ability to give up on Morris Claiborne. When they signed Nolan Carroll last week, it meant that their value in Carr was lowered as well. They see something in Carroll and at worst, he’s the fourth cornerback.
When we see that nine Cowboys are on their way to play for other teams, we must ask ourselves how valuable were those pieces? There is not one guy who left the team that has put a serious hurting on anyone. The Cowboys were prepared all along to lose the majority of their free agents. It’s important not to get so caught up in quantity of players lost, look at the quality of those players.
The Cowboys have every right to believe that their team will have a tremendous shot at landing talented young players in the draft. Maybe it was watching the secondary get ripped apart by Aaron Rodgers in the divisional game, maybe it was seeing their NFC East rivals sign every top free agent receiver, or maybe the Cowboys are just ready to move on from these guys.
It’s been far too long since the Cowboys had a secondary that made opposing offenses pay. By keeping these four guys, the Cowboys would be subscribing to mediocrity. Say it with us, it was time to say goodbye to these guys. At some point, you have to realize that the defense as a whole is in need of a remodel. It’s not just the pass rush, it’s the entire defense. Dallas has pieces in place to build around and make the defense a stronger unit.
This exodus was a long time coming and it should be a welcome sight for sore eyes. The Cowboys will be a better defense next year despite being quite youthful. They have plenty of time between now and September to bring guys in that can make a difference.
There are seven draft picks to spread about the team and there are ways they could gain even more. The Cowboys’ front office saw the perfect opportunity in a oversaturated draft class to do some real damage in reloading their team. Does that mean they ‘must’ find seven new starters? Absolutely not, this is a team that needs a talent upgrade and that goes from 1 to 53. Good teams are always churning the roster and finding new talent. Since Will McClay has been in Dallas, it’s hard to argue with his results.
There is no use in crying over spilled JAGs. This is about seeing the opportunity to make upgrades to a middling secondary. They’re not interested in just getting bodies, they want their defense to stop holding them back. In order for that to happen, Dallas had to be willing to part ways with guys that were average talents. The guys they really like are still on the roster and after the draft, there will only be more talent to work with.