Cowboys Biggest Win Now Is Draft Position


The Dallas Cowboys proved beyond any shadow of a doubt that there’s nothing to play for now but the best positioning possible in the 2016 NFL Draft.

At this point, you’re one of two different types of Dallas Cowboys fans. You either see the reality for what it is while knowing that this team could be two years away from contention, or you’re staying the course with the idea that America’ Team belongs anywhere near the playoffs.


Feel free to fill me in if there’s a third category I’m missing.

Following a 28-7 beat down by the Packers in Green Bay, a team not likely to get anywhere near Super Bowl 50 in a couple of months, it’s quite clear that this season is over. It’s done like a Texas rack of ribs left on the fire for about a week. This season is one crispy critter.

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What’s that? You say that the Cowboys are still mathematically in the race for that horrible NFC East championship that’ll likely be crowned after all regular-season festivities conclude on Week 17?

In case you missed it, both the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins found a way to win their respective football games on Week 14, thus meaning that there’s now a two-game gap between the Cowboys and their sub-500 division rivals. What the New York Giants do on Monday night doesn’t mean a thing.

Yes, there’s a mathematical chance that Dallas could end up with an unfortunate 17th game this season, likely at a place like – oh, Green Bay again or perhaps one of those divisional cities they’ve already been to this season.

Either way, can you actually see the Cowboys catching fire and reaching the NFC Championship Game?

Of course not.

We know the story this season. Injuries to starting quarterback Tony Romo and top wide-receiver Dez Bryant. Poor backup quarterback play. A four-game suspension for defensive end Greg Hardy and another injury to rookie pass rusher Randy Gregory. These issues certainly top the list of problems that set the table for a poor season just after it began.

Let’s call it a day, shall we?

Now, the Cowboys brass will never admit that this team is officially a disaster, even if there’s still that chance that Dallas could plummet down into the teens in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft by somehow winning the East.

Nonetheless, it’s time to start honestly asking this question:

What does victory mean for a team that’s now 4-9 with three games to play?

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The postseason?

Nope, the clear answer is that 81st annual player selection meeting coming up next April.

This is where fortunes have to change for the Cowboys.

Whether it be a quarterback, running back, defensive tackle – please not a cornerback – or defensive end, the Cowboys have the chance to leap forward in a big way in 2016.

Remember that the Cowboys just stole three players that had first-round grades entering the 2015 NFL Draft, which includes the signing of rookie offensive guard La’el Collins, who went undrafted due to a criminal investigation that he had nothing at all to do with.

Depending on how you look at it, the Cowboys are a plus-two in first round talent over the last several months and there’s a legitimate chance that they could score a couple more similarly coveted prospects with two selections in the first 40 picks next year in Chicago.

This is a rare opportunity for a franchise that, in more ways than not, is definitely better than its record indicates. As a matter of fact, this is one of those, ‘have your cake and eat it too’ scenarios that owner and general manager Jerry Jones normally sniffs out like a hound searching for a dead animal.

Just before Sunday’s latest setback in Wisconsin, Jones told the following to Dallas-Ft. Worth radio station 105.3 The Fan regarding his mindset should the Cowboys find themselves eliminated from contention in the NFC East.

"I will tell you that the day this season is over that I’m going to lust for the highest draft pick that I could have. And I’m going to say, ‘Well, crap, why did we make that catch?’ But I don’t say that today and I don’t say that Sunday and I won’t say it the next week either."

Well, that next week is basically now, and I strongly recommend that Jones simply alter his calendar just a touch.

This is not really about tanking, an overused word that essentially means quit.

No, the Cowboys shouldn’t quit playing football games just because of their record – kind of. This is about setting things up for the future, like landing that best draft pick possible, finding out if a guy like backup quarterback Kellen Moore can play. We already know that answer, but let’s go ahead and find out because it’ll actually help facilitate exactly what I’m talking about here.

Look, the Cowboys have played as hard as they can. It’s time to get guys rested and healthy for next season. The Romo situation is self-defined, but does Bryant really need to be out on the football field some three months following a broken foot suffered way, way back on Week 1 of this season? Again, this team is just 4-9 and in any other other division the lights would already be out. That faint flickering of the postseason doorway that’s way down the hallway isn’t going to be reached, and even if so, then what?

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You saw quarterback Matt Cassel at Lambeau Field, didn’t you?

No, this is not a race to the bottom, as some may suggest. This is actually the race to the top – the top of the 2016 NFL Draft, period.