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Post-free agency power rankings: Did the Cowboys rise or fall?

Power rankings in March? Sure, why not.

The professional American football team The Dallas Cowboys Photo Illustration by Miguel Candela/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Similar to mock drafts, power rankings are exercises that really mean nothing, but we can’t turn our heads away. Even during the season, power rankings don’t mean anything since the NFL is strictly a win and losses league and doesn’t rely on polling for anything. During the offseason, it’s an even more useless enterprise, except for the pure entertainment value of seeing what others think of your team, and the ability to create discussion/arguments among fans.

So we turn to ESPN’s latest post-free agency power rankings. There’s been plenty of debate over how the Cowboys have done in free agency, including the argument that they lost among the most talent in the league. They have also done a fairly decent job of adding talent at bargain prices, even if some of that talent is in the older range.

Weigh all that and where do the Cowboys stand? Here’s what ESPN thinks:

11. Dallas Cowboys

Way-too-early ranking: 12

Three words: Hold that line. The Cowboys’ top goal was to keep quarterback Dak Prescott and wide receiver Amari Cooper, and they did that with the exclusive franchise tag and a five-year contract, respectively. They have suffered some losses, such as Byron Jones, Randall Cobb, Robert Quinn and the retired Travis Frederick, but they knew they could not pay big money to everyone. They added Gerald McCoy and kept Sean Lee, Anthony Brown and Joe Looney — which takes on added significance after Frederick’s retirement — but are they better now than last season’s 8-8 finish? It’s difficult to say yes, but there is the draft to consider. — Todd Archer

The Cowboys move up one spot in the rankings compared to the previous ranking before free agency. Archer’s assessment is a little wishy-washy, with not much to recommend moving the Cowboys up a spot. But the rankings are curious at a couple of other spots. Somehow the Minnesota Vikings, who lost practically all of their defense, moves up from ninth to eighth. And the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are feeling the Tom Brady effect as they move up from 19th to 10th, one spot ahead of the Cowboys. Conversely, the New England Patriots drop from seventh all the way down to 13th.

As for the rest of the NFC East, the Philadelphia Eagles come in at 12th, the New York Giants are 28th and Washington is 31st, only besting the Cincinnati Bengals.

What’s your call, BTB? Fair or foul on these rankings.

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