For years, June 1 was an important date for NFL teams, because after June 1, unrestricted free agents signed by other teams didn’t count against a team’s compensatory draft-pick formula. Since 2015, that date has progressively been moved forward, and is now the Monday after the draft which this year was May 3rd.
The move was made to incentivize teams to sign veteran free agents shortly after the NFL draft instead of waiting until shortly before camp, as many teams had done in the past. The thinking was that those veterans would then be able to participate in a team’s OTAs and offseason program instead of sitting on their couch and waiting for a call in July or August.
And wouldn’t you know it, just a few hours after the “second wave of free agency” began at 4:00 pm ET on May 3rd, the Ravens announced that they are signing Alejandro Villanueva is signing a two-year, $14 million deal with $8 million guaranteed.
The Ravens obviously held off on the signing so that it would not count in the compensatory draft pick formula, thus safeguarding the two fourth-round comp picks they look likely to get next year.
And just like the Ravens, the Cowboys can now go out and sign additional free agents without compromising the one fourth-round comp pick they stand to get for Andy Dalton.
The team has repeatedly emphasized that roster building is a year-round activity, and there are still some big-name free agents available, like Richard Sherman or K.J. Wright (no, you can never have enough linebackers).
But while free agents like Sherman or Wright might provide the type of big-name signings many Cowboys fans crave, the Cowboys haven’t traditionally been big shoppers in this second wave of free agency, but they did get a little more active than usual last year.
Just a few days after the start of the second wave on April 27 last year, they signed Andy Dalton May 4th, added Cam Erving on May 7th, and added Everson Griffen in mid-August. They would later flip Griffen to Detroit for a sixth-round pick, and both Dalton and Erving figure prominently in next year’s comp pick calculations for the Cowboys.
The Cowboys will certainly continue to bring in players to maintain a minimum body count during training camp, but should they be more aggressive?
Would you go bargain hunting in this second wave of free agency, even if the list of remaining free agent veterans is slim pickings, which position would you target and who would you bring in?