As the 2020 offseason slowly but surely moves along, it’s nice to look back on the last few months and see just how well the Cowboys improved their roster via free agency and the draft.
While losing some really good players in Byron Jones, Travis Frederick, Robert Quinn, and Randall Cobb, the Cowboys also had some big-time additions in Gerald McCoy, CeeDee Lamb, Trevon Diggs, Tyler Biadasz, and holding out hope that Aldon Smith can return to somewhat close to his prime form.
ESPN’s Bill Barnewell took a look and graded all 32-team’s offseasons, and the Cowboys cracked the top five.
Here’s what Barnwell had to say for what went right for the Cowboys in the 2020 offseason:
What went right: The Cowboys finally cut ties with Jason Garrett, and while the decision to hire Mike McCarthy didn’t necessarily excite fans, the organization was able to keep Kellen Moore to coordinate an offense that ranked second in DVOA a year ago. (I liked the addition of former Rams special-teams coordinator John Fassel.) Dallas had a wildly exciting prospect fall into its lap in the draft in wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, was able to re-sign Amari Cooper to a reasonable deal with two guaranteed years, and even brought in a cheap, reliable backup for Dak Prescott in former Bengals starter Andy Dalton.
Most of the work the Cowboys conducted involved rebuilding a defense that ranked 19th in DVOA. While they lost cornerback Byron Jones in free agency, they rebuilt their line by signing Gerald McCoy and Dontari Poe. Dallas was able to land Trevon Diggs in the second round, who should help replace Jones in the years to come.
Any offseason that includes CeeDee Lamb, Trevon Diggs, Neville Gallimore, Gerald McCoy, Dontari Poe, and many more is going to be graded highly, but it wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows for the Cowboys. Barnwell breaks down what went wrong as well, and a reason to be a bit pessimistic heading into the season:
What went wrong: One year after returning from Guillain-Barré syndrome, star center Travis Frederick chose to retire. Frederick admitted he wasn’t able to return to his prior level of play in 2019, but he was still an above-average starter. A number of players could compete for his job, including Joe Looney, Connor McGovern, Cam Erving and fourth-round pick Tyler Biadasz.
The organization also hasn’t managed to get a long-term deal done with Prescott. History suggests that the Cowboys will make their best offer closest to the franchise tag deadline in July, but they need to accept that there’s little reason for Prescott’s side to cave in negotiations. History makes it quite clear that the price tag for starting quarterbacks only goes up.
With so much good, and so little bad, it there anything left for the Cowboys to do before opening kickoff in September (hopefully)? Well yes, Bill Barnwell has one more thing the Cowboys need to take care off to help put a cherry on top of an already fantastic offseason.
What’s left to do: Sign Dak. Simple as that.
Pay. Dak. Simple. As. That.