The Dallas Cowboys did not acquire safety Jamal Adams on Tuesday. That disappointed a lot of people.
Landing a player like Adams can change a defense, so it makes sense to be bummed about him not playing for the Cowboys in the foreseeable future.
There are some things that we know about this whole situation. Let’s start with the basics.
Dallas pursued Jamal Adams, they called first
This is a very important detail. While there are a lot of NFL teams having “fire sales” and getting rid of talent in an effort to fast forward their rebuild process, this wasn’t the case for the Cowboys and Jamal Adams. Dallas took it upon themselves to try and get one of the best safeties in the game.
Why is this important? Clearly the Cowboys aren’t totally satisfied with what they have going on at safety (if only there was an annual process where they could address this!), but what’s more clear is that the team is willing to spend big to fix that problem. We learned a year ago that the team isn’t afraid of paying a premium if it’s for the right player, Jamal Adams certainly fit that bill.
The Cowboys were willing to give up a first-round pick... and then some
This might not seem like a big deal, but it is. The Cowboys were ready to give up a first-round pick for Jamal Adams (plus more).
Ultimately, the Jets wanted a first- and two second-round picks and that’s a little too rich for a safety, but the fact that the Cowboys put their first-round pick on the table says a lot about their identity today. Why is that?
We now know that the Cowboys were prepared to give up their first-round pick two years in a row. Obviously they traded their 2019 first-rounder to get Amari Cooper and it would’ve taken their 2020 selection to land Adams. That’s a big price to pay for a team that does very well in that round.
Remember the quality of players that the Cowboys have drafted in the first round over the last decade or so. To know that they were willing to give up that opportunity two straight years says they’re ready to do some dancing in the here and now.
Dallas Cowboys first-round picks (2010 - 2018):
- 2010: Dez Bryant
- 2011: Tyron Smith
- 2012: Morris Claiborne
- 2013: Travis Frederick
- 2014: Zack Martin
- 2015: Byron Jones
- 2016: Ezekiel Elliott
- 2017: Taco Charlton
- 2018: Leighton Vander Esch
The idea of teams having “windows” is one that I’ve always found a little silly, but for lack of a better cliche it really does seem like the Cowboys are acknowledging that they are in the middle of theirs. Being willing to surrender a first-round pick two years in a row is not a small thing and that’s exactly where they find themselves.
This is the exact sort of mentality that people have wanted to see from the Cowboys
For the last several years now the Los Angeles Rams and Philadelphia Eagles have led the league in positive tweets about their front office. Football fans champion how both L.A. and Philly are so willing to try and acquire legitimate talent, that’s exactly who the Cowboys are these days.
No, the Cowboys did not land Jamal Adams, but they came so close that they reached a point where most think they were right to bow out. Dallas picked up the proverbial phone, talked shop, threw out their offer, and were met with unreasonable demands. They did their due diligence and deserve credit for that.
People have come around on the fact that the Cowboys are good at drafting, their success in the first round is a huge reason why, but it’s time to give them credit for other avenues of team-building, too. While they still aren’t big spenders in free agency the Cowboys have found crafty trades to add players like Tavon Austin, Amari Cooper, Robert Quinn, and Michael Bennett in recent seasons.
The Cowboys understand that they’re operating within a special range of time. They have a legitimate shot here and they finally seem to recognize that to the point that they’re willing to swing for some fences.