Today we take a simple self-assessment as to how we each feel the Dallas Cowboys did in free agency this offseason. Join us, will you?
The Dallas Cowboys took some questionable (in)action in free agency this offseason. They let their clear No. 1 cornerback, Byron Jones, leave uncontested. They let their top sack collector from 2019, Robert Quinn, walk. Dallas let their top pressure player at defensive tackle, Maliek Collins, leave. Their starting slot receiver Randall Cobb left to Houston. They even bid farewell to future Hall of Famer Jason Witten and starting strong safety/team captain Jeff Heath leave (OK, many fans rejoiced in those last two).
Losing players in the age of free agency is nothing new, though. It’s how you replace them that matters. But how the Dallas Cowboys chose to replace them calls into question the handling of their offseason. While Gerald McCoy should be an upgrade to Collins inside and Blake Jarwin seems primed to upgrade Witt, and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix could very well be an upgrade to Heath, it’s the other three spots that have serious concerns.
The Dallas Cowboys brought nobody in to replace Byron Jones. Yes, they signed Maurice Canady and Saivion Smith, but neither are expected to start, let alone replace the CB1 spot Byron Jones vacated.
The Dallas Cowboys also failed to clearly replace Robert Quinn. Yes, they expect Tyrone Crawford and Randy Gregory to come back. And they hope newly-signed Aldon Smith can come back after a half-a-decade hiatus from the game, but that’s a lot of hope pinned on two players who are currently suspended and one guy who’s really, “just a guy”.
And Randall Cobb, a player who was much more productive than many give him credit for, was replaced with absolutely nothing so far.
So basically the three most important positions that the Dallas Cowboys had a void at this offseason, have yet to be adequately addressed. The three best players Dallas lost have yet to be replaced and we’re approaching the end of April?
This begs the question…
Did the Dallas Cowboys fail in free agency this year?
A great test of whether or not a team was successful in free agency is how they approach the NFL Draft. If they have a clear need at a position – one that that must be addressed early, then the answer is the team failed. That’s because free agency is for filling roster needs. The NFL Draft is for building the roster long-term by collecting the best possible talent at positions of importance.
So ask yourself this: Do the Dallas Cowboys have any positions of need they simply must address early in the draft?
If you answered “yes”, then you basically think the Cowboys botched free agency.
Now, some will point out, free agency is alive an well and signable players remain on the market. While that’s true, there aren’t a lot of players available on the market who are good enough to replace Byron at CB1 or Cobb at slot.
Failure in free agency would be excusable if the team was backed up against a financial wall and unable to afford to keep and/or replace the players in free agency but that’s not the case with the Dallas Cowboys. They have plenty of money to afford everything.
Admittedly, I made the argument early in the offseason both Quinn and Cobb were going to cost a bundle and since their 2019 performances were both outliers, there was an excellent chance they would decline in 2020 and should probably be replaced. So I agree with the decision to let them leave – I just would have replaced them with someone!
There are some who are complimentary of the Dallas Cowboys’ free agency approach and in the same breath insist Dallas picks a CB in round one or two. It’s a tough argument to make in the same breath, because you can’t really have it both ways.
So that’s it. That’s the test. Do the Dallas Cowboys absolutely positively need to address a certain position early in the NFL Draft? If you answer no, then they did what they needed to in free agency. If you answered yes, well, free agency didn’t serve it’s purpose then.
Do you see free agency differently? Do you see the draft as a way to fill needs and free agency the best way to find best available talent? I’d love to hear from you. Go ahead and sound off in the comments because this is a fun conversation to have this time of the year.