The Dallas Cowboys are approaching the draft with obvious needs remaining on both the offensive and defensive lines. They’ve lost Connor Williams, La’el Collins, and Randy Gregory. While moving on from Williams was expected, and some writing was on the wall for Collins, the loss of Gregory came as a surprise over the finer points in his contract details.
Jerry Jones met with the media on Monday, and offered new perspective on the Gregory departure through the usual blue and silver tinted glasses. There were some rumors that losing Gregory fell on Stephen Jones, who pushed the negotiations on Adam Prasifka - another member of the team’s front office. Jerry suggested he had his own opportunity to pass on re-signing Gregory before the Broncos swooped in, and began selling fans on the new players Dallas has brought in.
“We got at least three more top players with what we would have spent there” - Jerry Jones
The Cowboys have only brought in two outside free agents so far, with Stephen Jones claiming the team may not be done yet. Dante Fowler is their only pass rush replacement for Gregory, while the James Washington signing came after the team traded away Amari Cooper.
Speaking to reporters for the first time since free agency opened, Jerry Jones said he had an opportunity to make things work with Randy Gregory and opted not to.— David Helman (@HelmanDC) March 28, 2022
Like he said, who can say how it works out. But the Cowboys are doubling down on using that money on more players. pic.twitter.com/euH1FnW6Kd
This means that no matter how you read between the lines of this Jerry quote, he’s talking about one of the Cowboys internal free agents as a top player they’re happy to have back. Signing their own guys has always been a priority, and this offseason the Cowboys have retained 12 of their expiring contracts. Michael Gallup can be considered one of the top players, but the Cowboys will be asking a lot from a receiver coming off ACL surgery that may not be ready for week one.
Jayron Kearse is another player the Cowboys saw great results from in Dan Quinn’s scheme on a team-friendly deal in 2021, getting him on a new two-year deal to pair with Malik Hooker at safety.
The Cowboys should absolutely be trying to add talent on defense while Quinn is still here, a head coaching candidate in this year’s cycle. They should also be careful not to be overly scheme specific though, something avoiding the first wave of free agency leads to.
This was something I brought up on the most recent episode of the Hidden Yardage podcast on the Blogging the Boys network, available on Spotify and Apple.
Dallas has work to do in the draft, and Jones admitted this by saying the team will look to the offensive line at 24th overall unless a “Lamb or Parsons” prospect is available. Whether or not the Cowboys have done enough in free agency to position themselves for a similar best player available pick is up for debate.
While other perennial playoff contenders have legitimately added top players this offseason, the Cowboys have us wondering who falls in this category between the likes of Dalton Schultz and Luke Gifford.