The front office of the Dallas Cowboys is at it again. When it comes to opening its wallet to sign outside free agents, the team has been especially frugal with its expenditures. They have only acquired five players this offseason, all of whom have agreed to a one-year deal. The most notable signings include:
- Edge rusher Dante Fowler Jr. (Falcons), $3 million
- Wide receiver James Washington (Steelers), $1.1 million
- Fullback Ryan Nall (Bears), $965,000
The team also just recently re-signed kicker Lirim Hajrullahu (Panthers) to provide a little competition for UDFA Jonathan Garibay if you want to count that as well. Hajrullahu played one game for the Cowboys last year going 5/5 in extra points before being released and finishing the season with the Panthers.
In addition to Hajrullahu, the team just signed linebacker Christian Sam, who was a late-round pick by the New England Patriots in 2018. He has traveled around on different team’s practice squads as well as most recently playing in the USFL, but he has yet to play a down in the NFL.
The Cowboys' lack of outside free agent endeavors has fans up in arms. We all know they have the extra cash as the team currently sits with the third-most cap space for the 2022 season at just over $20 million.
It also doesn’t go unnoticed that the team lost three key players Amari Cooper, Randy Gregory, and La’el Collins. The Cowboys did re-sign a couple of their own players in Michael Gallup and Dorance Armstrong to help offset the losses of Cooper and Gregory. They also believe third-year tackle Terence Steele can handle the right tackle position vacated by Collins. The team also selected a wide receiver (Jalen Tolbert), edge rusher (Sam Williams), and tackle (Matt Waletzko) in April’s draft.
Doing the math, it doesn’t appear that the Cowboys have done enough to make up for the players they’ve lost, let alone bolster the roster to help them take a step forward. So why do they continue to do nothing?
There is a method to their madness and today we’re going to examine five reasons why it makes sense for the Cowboys to just stand pat for now and not make any moves in free agency.
1. They don’t have any glaring needs
There are a lot of positions that have question marks entering the new season, but with those question marks come potential solutions already on the roster. Do they have enough offensive line depth? Possibly. Do they need help at the nose position? Maybe. Do they have enough bodies at the linebacker spot? Ask again later.
While there are areas that could potentially be an issue, there isn’t one spot where the Cowboys have a huge hole. A couple of weeks ago I took to Twitter to ask my fellow fans what neglected position are you most frustrated about? While the answers were plentiful, there wasn’t an overwhelming consensus on a specific position that needs addressing.
In hindsight, is there a player you wished the team would’ve tried a little harder to sign in free agency? Something tells me, that the answers would also consist of a list of players spread out over several positions. In fact, let’s do a little exercise. Click on the NFL Free Agent Tracker from Spotrac and go find that magical free agent. Filter by position if you want. Then, come back and put in the comments what player you think the Cowboys should’ve gone after. Rec the one you agree with and let’s see if we as a fanbase can come up with a consensus glaring need.
2. They lose nothing by waiting
The front office says they aren’t done in free agency. Whether it’s correct or not, they have confidence in some of their younger players to step up and be contributors. Chances are, they’ll be right in some instances and wrong in others. And when those answers are revealed, that’s when they can turn to free agency.
If the team feels as if their wide receiver group is a little shaky and they don’t want to take any chances since Gallup will miss the first part of the season, then they can always go after someone later. Players like Julio Jones, Odell Beckham Jr., Will Fuller, and T.Y. Hilton remained unsigned. If they are worried about linebacker depth, they can always add a Joe Schorbert, Kwon Alexander, Alec Ogletree, or even our good friend Anthony Hitchens. And if they don’t feel comfortable with their offensive line depth, there is a slew of veteran free agents still available.
3. They did everything right last offseason
We go through this ordeal every offseason constantly pleading for the Cowboys to do more in free agency. And every year they disappoint. By disappoint, we mean they don’t sign enough players to provide us with this feeling that the Cowboys are going to be contenders.
However, the reality is that they actually do okay with their acquisitions. In fact, they are coming off a season where they signed several roster contributions for pennies on the dollar. Players like Jayron Kearse, Carlos Watkins, Bryan Anger, Malik Hooker, Damontae Kazee, and Ty Nsekhe were all cheap signings who played a meaningful part on this team. And many of these players performed so well that the Cowboys re-signed them to a second contract.
Again, I recently took to Twitter and asked fans what the Cowboys should have done in free agency LAST YEAR. While there were all kinds of suggestions this time a year ago, now it’s just crickets. With the luxury of hindsight, we could mention a beefier interior defensive lineman would’ve helped as the biggest weakness on the team was their 23rd-ranked rushing yards allowed per carry, but even that might’ve not been as bad had the run-stopping free-agent Brent Urban not gotten injured.
4. They are already a very good football team
Some Cowboys fans don’t want to hear anyone talk about how good this team is because let’s face it, they’re not good enough. It’s been 26 years since the Cowboys won their last Super Bowl, which is also the last time they’ve advanced past the divisional round of the playoffs. Such failure has brought about much unrest to Cowboys Nation.
As unsatisfying as that is, the Cowboys are still a good team. Recently, we mentioned that the Cowboys finished with the highest DVOA for the 2021 season, finishing in the top six in offense, defense, and special teams. Furthermore, the 2022 squad is projected to finish atop DVOa once again. While playoff success is still missing and our gut tries to tell us the Cowboys are lacking, analytics still point to this being a very good football team.
5. They are saving for the future
The Cowboys have extra cash to spend right now, but that doesn’t mean they should use it. The Cowboys are one of seven NFL teams that are paying at least $40 million for their quarterback so careful spending becomes that much more important for them.
Additionally, they’ve been drafting some winners so re-upping their own players won’t come cheap. It won’t be long when players like CeeDee Lamb, Trevon Diggs, and Micah Parsons will all be commanding hefty second contracts so every dollar saved counts. That is not to say the Cowboys should remove themselves from going after players they feel could help the team, but at the same time, they want to be smart about it.