The Dallas Cowboys have been relatively quiet this offseason sending many in Cowboys Nation into a certifiable frenzy so today we discuss what the heck they’re doing.
The Dallas Cowboys were supposed to be “all-in” this season. With Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott still playing for low dollars on their rookie deals, the Cowboys have a financial advantage over the rest of the league.
It’s this savings, at positions that are traditionally quite costly, that allows them to spend big on other areas of the team. And for a Dallas Cowboys team that just advanced to the divisional round of the playoffs, one or two players could be all this team needs to push it to the next level.
But instead of pouncing on this temporary financial advantage, the Cowboys front office has opted to operate conservatively. After letting Earl Thomas and Cole Beasley sign elsewhere with nary a fight, Dallas re-signed a handful of role players, further aggravating Cowboys Nation.
If you frequent Twitter you’ve seen it firsthand. People are outraged and want to know what in the H-E-double hockey sticks is going on here!
Business as usual
For those of us who’ve been following the Dallas Cowboys long, we know this is just business as usual for this team. Ever since overpaying for Anthony Henry back in 2005 the front office has been hesitant to throw market-setting money at an outside free agent early in the offseason.
To think the Dallas Cowboys are suddenly going to abandon their free agency strategy this year goes against their history. Even if this small window of opportunity says it’s the smart thing to do.
Many of the players signed in the first 48 hours of free agency will fail to live up to their ginormous contracts, subsequently becoming cap casualties in the not-too-distant future. The Dallas Cowboys have lost their taste for this type of gamble. Big swings often lead to big misses and a couple big misses have a way of forcing a rebuild as dead money exits the ledger.
The Dallas Cowboys prefer sustainable success. They despise the rebuilding years and would rather grind it out all night at the poker table than go all-in on the first strong hand they get. For better or for worse, that’s this franchise’s style.
Who’s at fault?
Yesterday, veteran Sport DFW contributor, Dink Kearney, wrote about how criminally cheap this front office is being. Whether it’s a premier outside free agent (like Earl Thomas) or a premier internal player (like DeMarcus Lawrence), Stephen Jones is seemingly unwilling to lock up elite talent. A few weeks ago Dan Ruppert also made the case for going all-in in 2019 because the financial window is closing.
I broached the subject a few days ago as well. I listed reasons the Dallas Cowboys should swallow their pride, stop trying to get a perfect comprise, and just pony up the cash and OVERPAY Lawrence now so we can move on with the rest of the offseason.
But do we know the front office is at fault? It’s perfectly possible the issue is on the player’s side – not the team’s side. I’ve always assumed Tank is asking for Khalil Mack money ($23.5 million per season) and the Cowboys are thinking something like $21.5 million (all with similar guarantees). If that’s really the delta, then there’s no excuse for this to be dragging on.
What if that isn’t the delta? What if Team Tank is asking for more and he wants to be the highest paid edge player in the NFL? We just really don’t know.
What we do know is that with Frank Clark, Jadeveon Clowney, and Tank all on the market at the same time, all three are determined to come out with the best deal this offseason. And even more so, their respective agents are scared to death they’ll be the ones who agree to the lowest deal. Additionally, no professional athlete particularly likes mandatory offseason activities (up to and including training camp) and avoiding a deal now avoids the offseason grind.
These fellas know they’re going to get paid eventually so they have no problem sitting on ice until the deadline. Between the players and their agents, there’s every reason to delay and very little reason to negotiate at this time.
So while I still agree with Dink about the front office not acting with urgency, and stick with my first thoughts – wanting Dallas to resolve this Tank situation now, even if it means overpaying – I realize the Dallas Cowboys may not be the ones to blame for this particular issue.
Free agency just began and many of the big names have come off the board, but that doesn’t mean the Dallas Cowboys have failed. They are doing what they always do and that’s be opportunistic shoppers.
It’s perfectly understandable many Dallas Cowboys fans are upset. They have the perfect hand to go all-in this offseason but they refuse to change their poker strategy. It’s just who they are and we all know it.
The lack of progress on their own internal super stars (Tank, Dak, Zeke, Amari Cooper, Byron Jones, etc…) is also troubling, but again, we don’t know what the players’ sides are doing to help/hurt this negotiation (or if they’re even interested in negotiating right now).
What the heck is going on? Exactly what we thought was going to go on, that’s what.