Now that free agency has died down, and the 2017 NFL draft is over, we can reflect back on what the Cowboys have accomplished this offseason. While roster-building is an ongoing process, most of the heavy-lifting for the 2017 season is done. How did the Cowboys do? We turn to Bill Barnwell at ESPN for his analysis, and sprinkle in a little of our own.
Overall, Barnwell gives the Cowboys a C+. That’s a decidedly middle of the road grade. Not good, but not bad, kind of like treading water.
A couple of things Barnwell liked:
- Collecting compensatory picks. Since the Cowboys laid low in free agency, and let some players go instead of paying inflated salaries, they will be rewarded in the 2018 draft. As of now, it looks like they will get a fourth-round, two fifth-round, and one sixth-round draft pick. Barnwell comments:
If we treat those picks like the average compensatory selections from each of those rounds, the Cowboys are grabbing 6.4 points of draft capital, per Chase Stuart's chart, which is roughly equivalent to the 84th pick in the draft.
2. The Cowboys took a shot at fixing their pass rush. We have debated endlessly about Taco Charlton’s abilities and fit in Dallas. Barnwell says:
At the very least, Dallas needed to try to give Marinelli a pass-rusher with some sort of pedigree to rotate in on the edge, and Jones committed his first-round pick toward an upgrade by drafting Taco Charlton out of Michigan with the 28th selection. Marinelli has a well-earned reputation of getting the most out of defensive linemen who have been anonymous elsewhere within the league; here's his chance to work with a first-round talent.
Here is where the Cowboys failed according to the author:
- They publicly overplayed their hand on Tony Romo. This one is a little weird to me. Barnwell seems to think this was a big deal, the conflicting media stories about what would happen. But in the end, with Romo’s retirement, it doesn’t really change anything about the Cowboys 2017 season. How this was a detriment to the team in the offseason is bizarre. I respect Barnwell’s analysis immensely, but he misses the mark here.
- The didn’t draft any offensive linemen. Again, this hardly seems like the highest of priorities. Yes, the Cowboys offensive line is going through a shakeup of sorts, and we need to see how the La’el Collins situation plays out. But it’s not like the cupboard was empty. The Cowboys have options in Jonathan Cooper, Chaz Green, and Byron Bell, among others. And Barnwell’s solution would have been to use a mid-round pick on an offensive lineman. Since when has a mid-round pick ever been a solid, no-doubt solution to anything?
I think Barnwell might have been more accurate if he would have dinged the Cowboys for other issues. Personally, there are things like linebacker depth that are troubling. What if Jaylon Smith just can’t perform? Also, could the Cowboys have made a bigger effort to obtain an established pass rusher? On offense, is Kellen Moore really the solution at backup QB?
Overall, though, the Cowboys had a pretty good offseason. Many people panicked about the free agency losses, but really, it was time the Cowboys revamped their secondary. It wasn’t getting any younger or healthier, and it wasn’t like they were setting the world on fire anyway.
The Cowboys deserve a B for their offseason. They remained fiscally smart, they collected some draft picks for the 2018 season, and they injected a ton of defensive talent through the draft.
What grade would you give the Cowboys and why?
What grade do the Cowboys deserve this offseason?
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