The Dallas Cowboys Now Operating in an Era of Fiscal Responsibility.


Sep 9, 2012; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Bears defensive end

Henry Melton

(69) celebrates a sack during the second half against the Indianapolis Colts at Soldier Field. The Bears won 41-21. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

When the contract for new Dallas Cowboy, Henry Melton, was made public last week, it was hard to ignore how team-friendly the deal was. The former Pro-Bowler was signed to a guaranteed 1-year deal, with a team option for 3 additional years. The first year would largely be performance-based, while the team-optioned last three years are more of a traditional structure of partially guaranteed money.

Melton’s contract could be as low-risk as a 1 year $2.25M contract or as large as a 4 year $29M contract. What it becomes will depend on Henry Melton’s performance in 2014. It’s really the perfect deal for a team hesitant to commit big money to an injured player and for a player confident in his ability to bounce back and prove it to everyone else.

This contract is exactly the type of deal the Cowboys should have been making for years. Granted, Melton comes under special circumstances – He recently has had some legal issues arise and he is coming off of major knee surgery. Throw in the fact that he loves defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli and you have the perfect situation for the perfect deal.

Throw the Brandon Weeden contract into the discussion too. He may be terrible and statistically one of the worst starting QBs from the last couple seasons but he doesn’t cost anything. The former 1st rounder is certainly a classifiable “bust” (what are you laughing at Morris Claiborne) but when it became known he accepted a contract for the league minimum, the signing was actually pretty good.

The Cowboys found a way to cover themselves in case current backup, Kyle Orton, retires like he had been hinting at. According to Todd Archer it only costs $75k against the cap. That’s pretty savvy Salary Cap Management right there.

Jan 12, 2014; Denver, CO, USA; San Diego Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) is sacked by Denver Broncos defensive end Jeremy Mincey (57) in the first quarter during the 2013 AFC divisional playoff football game at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The signings of Jeremy Mincey and Terrell McClain are equally budget friendly deals. These gentlemen figure to be rotational players with a chance at starting spots on the DL. How much will this cost the Cowboys in 2014? Just $1.25M for Mincey who signed a 2 year $4.5M deal and $850k for McClain who signed a 3 year/$3.05M deal. More responsible spending from the Cowboys.

What about moves the Cowboy’s didn’t make…

Jared Allen desperately wanted the Cowboys to offer him a hefty contract when he visited Dallas last week.

The Cowboys restrained themselves. When have you heard of that before? Jared Allen is a big-time player that deserves some real money. The Cowboys would be happy to add him to the team but only at the right cost.

They did the right thing for the long-term economic health of the franchise.  They don’t appear to be budging either. Allen has given them plenty of time and now needs to make a decision himself.

The Cowboys could have kept DeMarcus Ware or even resigned Jason Hatcher or Anthony Spencer. They only had to rework contracts for Jason Witten and Brandon Carr to get it done. Doing so would have pushed money back on each of their deals making it more difficult down the road. The Cowboys resisted that urge.

Things are changing in Dallas. The front office seems suddenly aware that there are consequences to their actions. But budget consciousness alone will not improve this franchise. The Cowboys need talent or these deals are a waste of money. McClain and Mincey must contribute positively. We don’t want to see a repeat of the Mackenzy Bernadeau and Nate Livings budget friendly signings from a few years ago. They must make the team better to be worth it.

Weeden probably will never offer anything back but since the money committed to him is just the veterans minimum, who cares? Melton could just be an average player and completely justify his 2014 salary. Chances are high, he’s going to pay off.

The NFL is about two things: 1. Talent acquisition and 2. Managing budgets. The Cowboys seem to have finally figured that second one out.

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