The Dallas Cowboys had many loses to overcome this offseason and what they were able to do has been truly amazing.
The Dallas Cowboys found themselves at a crossroads this offseason. Do they re-sign some of their costly veteran players or do they replace them with younger, more unknown options? Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne, Barry Church, and J.J. Wilcox were all set to be free agents this offseason. Additionally all were expected to receive significant pay raises.
Joining the free agents in the secondary were other key players like Terrell McClain, Jack Crawford, Terrance Williams, and Brice Butler, just to name a few. The team that delivered Cowboys Nation a 13-3 record was now in jeopardy of being somewhat dismantled.
While many will agree that youth is the way of the NFL, making a transition like this, coming off the success of 2016, is no small leap. But the Dallas Cowboys leapt. They trusted their coaching staff, trusted their scouts, trusted their understanding of the market and they leapt.
When you really look at things, this offseason was more dangerous than many of cared to admit.
The Dallas Cowboys virtually hit reset with their secondary; letting roughly 2,600 snaps walk out the door uncontested.
They trusted they could find a bargain or two in free agency and trusted they could find more solutions in the draft.
As we know, they signed safety Robert Blanton and cornerback Nolan Carroll to help suture the secondary while they waited for the draft. In the draft they snagged Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, Marquez White, and Xavier Woods as their more permanent solutions.
McClain and Crawford left but replacing them is Taco Charlton, Damontre Moore, and Charles Tapper – all of whom offer more potential at a lesser cost than those they are effectively replacing.
The Dallas Cowboys churned the roster and replaced veterans who have reached their potential with still-developing youth. The veterans they did retain, Terrance Williams, Brice Butler, and Darren McFadden came back on sweetheart deals for Dallas.
This offseason had the potential to be very significant for the Dallas Cowboys. It could have been significantly good or significantly bad.
Make the wrong deals and overpay for veteran security and it could have crippling repercussions down the road. Cut loose more starting players than you can replace and you just flushed a winning team down the toilet.
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When you really look at things, this offseason was more dangerous than many of cared to admit. And while we don’t know how some of these roster changes will come out in the end, we can see that at face value this offseason unfolded brilliantly.
Clearly the biggest unresolved task of this offseason is finding a player capable of upgrading the pass rush. Moore, Tapper, or Charlton could be that solution.
A contract year for Demarcus Lawrence could also be the answer.
But with all the questions that are inevitably following the Cowboys into training camp, the Cowboys have put together multiple possible answers.
They aren’t pinning all hope on one player, but rather many players.
For as special as last season was, the Dallas Cowboys may have had an offseason that was just as special. Economically we know they did right. They didn’t overpay for anyone and that benefit will carry on for years down the road.
How this unfold on the field will be the ultimate test in how Cowboys brass handled their roster this offseason but as things look now, they did a very special job considering the very difficult circumstances.
Take a moment to appreciate all that’s happened this offseason. It’s not just the moves you make but also the ones you don’t make. The Dallas Cowboys could have played it safe but they resisted and did what they thought was right. We’ll be following that storyline in training camp…