With the offseason officially started for the Dallas Cowboys, the whirlwind to follow will define the team.
This was not the way the season was supposed to end. Players playing in the Pro Bowl to end the 2016-2017 season was not supposed to happen, but it did. The Dallas Cowboys wanted to be playing in the Super Bowl, but when that dream was dashed, players headed to the Pro Bowl and the offseason has officially started.
What will develop over the next few months will define who the Cowboys will be moving forward.
If there was a bright spot to the 2016 season, it was that the Dallas Cowboys weren’t seen as a legit contender, but made themselves one. Their draft was a great one as rookies made impacts all over the field. This bodes well for the team in the upcoming years, but this offseason might be the toughest test for the future.
First up is free agency. Well, first would be retirements, and the only person so far this could remove from the team is Brandon Carr. The Cowboys have a lot of free agents of their own and some of them should be re-signed, some may be let go, and others may be a wait and see type of player. How they handle free agency will dictate a lot about where this team needs to go in the draft.
There is no secret the Cowboys could use more pass rushing and it would not surprise anyone if they go looking in the free-agent market for a veteran presence. It could come in the form of DeMarcus Ware, Jason Pierre-Paul, or Andre Branch. If the past few seasons have told us anything about the Dallas Cowboys, it is they will bargain shop. But it all depends on if they can free up cap space by letting go of Tony Romo.
The other position on defense the Dallas Cowboys could look to upgrade through free agency is cornerback. If Carr does retire, it will leave a hole in the secondary. With Orlando Scandrick‘s and Morris Claiborne‘s injury histories, and a few raw young players, the need could be too great to overlook. This is a fairly deep free agent class, so there could be a player to be had a little cheaper than usual.
On offense the Cowboys could be looking for help at wide receiver. I know it sounds odd, but with Terrance Williams and Brice Butler potentially leaving, a solid number two is needed. This isn’t a terrible free agent market and someone like Pryor or Kenny Stills could be had fairly cheaply.
Again, much of this all depends on the cash the Cowboys are able to have available.
Once the free agency madness winds down, it is time for the draft. With the Dallas Cowboys having late picks in each round, they will have to be smart and not overreach for players. They should be able to allow the draft to fall to them and pick best available.
The biggest issue is replicating the success in 2016 with immediate impact players. The draft is fairly deep in some positions of need for the Cowboys which could help when it comes time to pick.
You can see my first mock draft here for some ideas.
Once the draft is over it will be time to sign the rookie free agents. This is where the Dallas Cowboys have been able to move better than a lot of teams. The Cowboys have seemed to find quality players after the draft and have even found some superstars (yes, a nod to Tony Romo). If the Jerry Jones and crew can be smart with their moves the Cowboys could be better next season.
With the offseason whirlwind about to pick up, we all have to wait and see what exactly is in the cards for the Dallas Cowboys. Smart moves could go a long way to the long-term success of the team. If they can hit the right moves without breaking the bank, then the Cowboys will be poised for years to come to be a dominant team. If they whiff it could be a different story. Let the offseason begin.