As reported by Tim McMahon of ESPN Dallas, Jerry Jones thinks “this isn’t rebuilding time.” I’ve written extensively in the past that the Cowboys should rebuild but I haven’t recently. Allow me to indulge myself.
Tim McMahon notes that the Cowboys have “almost completely revamped” their roster by replacing all but 9 players since 2010. A revamp? Maybe, but anyone trying to go further and call what they have done a rebuild is being somewhat disingenuous, since 8 of the nine are starters. Also, those 8 are either highly paid or signed to a long-term extension, sometimes both. The Cowboys are not a rebuilding team, but they have the roster turmoil of one without the cap space or flexibility.
That fact was brought into plain focus when the team had to release DeMarcus Ware, a future Hall of Famer for what was roundly acknowledged as cap savings. Considering the dead money both moves should incur into next season, their spending in 2015 will likely be limited as well. While yearly revamping has its advantages– it is true, after all, that the Cowboys have been a game away from the playoffs for three straight years– it also promotes the long, backloaded contract suffocating the team today. NFL cap rules provide an incentive for providing longterm deals, and the Cowboys, trying to revamp while in increasingly precarious cap limbo, were more than happy to take advantage. This explains why many of the players cut in between were signed to long term deals –high priced players cut include Ware, Marion Barber, Roy Williams, and Miles Austin.
The Cowboys’ attempt to live in the moment and forget about tomorrow has, mercifully, come to a halt, at least for now. Of course, it isn’t like Jerry finally broke out of his reality distortion field and finally realized his team just isn’t that good. It isn’t like he finally realized that rebuilding by building a quasi-pyramid scheme of increasingly expensive players to longer deals to justify the expensive and long deals already given was killing the team. In this case, it was financial necessity, as the team literally couldn’t afford to sign any particularly expensive deals. It doesn’t appear that the financial cleansing will continue. If Jerry is really attempting to win the NFC East every year despite his thin, aging, expensive roster providing multiple red flags for why he won’t, he will be forced to revamp on the fly, just like he has every year since 2010. And I will be writing this column sometime in the near future.
Tags: Dallas Cowboys