Dallas Cowboys Free Agency Primer


John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

SportDFW’s Ryan Ratty wrote an article today about Wesley Woodyard and Henry Melton being an option in free agency. With just about $1 million dollars in cap space there will have to be some moves to get these two players. But what else can the Dallas Cowboys do this offseason? By freeing up money, the Dallas Cowboys could grab one or two players. It will be interesting to see who the Cowboys will target in free agency.

Looking at the needs of the Cowboys, there are some glaring holes. Defensive line, safety, outside linebacker, and guard are the biggest holes on this team. There are a few other holes at some positions. Those positions are backup quarterback, wide receiver, and depth in the secondary. From most mock drafts, the Cowboys have been slated to take a defensive tackle or a Safety in the first round, and maybe a defensive tackle, defensive end, or a safety in the second. If Jerry Jones thinks he can have one of these in the first round, then he might be more inclined to go after some of the other needs in free agency.

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

In the free safety market, the top the free agents are Jarius Byrd, Mike Mitchell, and Malcolm Jenkins. It is presumed that Byrd wants $9 million a year. This will probably be way too steep for the Dallas Cowboys to even think about. However, Mitchell and Jenkins would command less. Jenkins is somewhere in the $3+ million a year, while Mitchell would be somewhere in that ballpark as well. With the Eagles and Redskins pursuing Mitchell, at least getting into a small bidding war to raise the price that either rival would have to spend might be worth it. Regardless, Dallas’ free agency signings will all come down to DeMarcus Ware and his salary.

At guard, the free agent pool is a little thin. The two guys at the top are Jon Asamoah and Zane Beadles. Neither will command a lot of money and would be decent upgrades, or at least fill the hole for a few years. Willie Colon is an interesting option as he is coming off a biceps injury and won’t command nearly any money. While he could miss the entire off-season, he might be signed for cheap.

We have covered the linebacker situation and the defensive end situation in Ryan’s articles. This leaves us at backup quarterback, wide receiver, and maybe cornerback. I would think the Cowboys might go after a backup quarterback and possibly a cornerback if they have the cash. Receiver could be an option in the draft, but you never know with Jerry.

In the quarterback market, there are few people the Cowboys could bring in for a look. I would say they should look at Josh McCown or Michael Vick, but neither of them would be the best option at backup quarterback. If Orton stays or retires, expect the Dallas to bring in some rookie quarterbacks as well as veterans who have been released throughout the off-season

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

The cornerback market is not looking too shabby this year. While Alterraun Verner is the top free agent, he has said he wants to go to a winner and is looking for between 7 and 9 million a year. First, this team is not considered a contender. Second, his tag is too steep. The next four guys, Aqib Talib, Vontae Davis, Antonio Cromartie, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie are already talking with other teams. This leaves some quality reserves that the Cowboys could get once the market dies down. Captain Munnerlyn and Walter Thurmond might be the next tier. With Thurmond’s suspension, some teams may avoid him at first. Meanwhile, Munnerlyn isn’t a well-known commodity and he could be had a little cheaper. I would guess though that most of these guys will get overpaid as that is the trend in the NFL for cornerbacks. It might be worth Dallas’ time and effort to find a contributor at this position in the draft.

Starting at 4 PM ET today the NFL Free Agency period begins. While it is difficult to predict what the Cowboys will do, this offseason will be a test in patience and tempered expectations. The Cowboys will probably go after under-the-radar players. But with Jerry running the show, no one ever knows. It might just be their place to drive up a few prices so the rest of the teams in the NFC East can’t spend on a lot of people. Cowboy fans will know where this franchise headed after free agency is over.