Dallas Cowboys: Time to Change the Free Agent Philosophy

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports /

Every year we approach free agency watching the Dallas Cowboys try to fill holes. For years we have watched the Cowboys pass on positions like safety and defensive tackle for various reasons. Sometimes we are told the player isn’t a scheme fit, sometimes it is about money, and others it is some weird standard of height, weight, or some physical attribute.

Cliff Harris said last year that the Cowboys weren’t interested because he was told, “we don’t want corners under six feet.”

So we watched the Cowboys spend money on a bunch of players who either got cut or were just plain bad. While they went and got some names people had heard of, those players were mere shells of their former selves.

The total money spent on all of the cut free agents last year could have gone to an actual good player. That would have at least solved one position. Instead, the Cowboys “filled holes” by just throwing bodies at the positions.

The Dallas Cowboys need to change their free agent philosophy a little.

The argument some are hanging on to about not paying Dak Prescott is the money saved could go toward free agents. Except the Dallas Cowboys have shown even with money and a quarterback on a rookie deal, they would rather sign a running back and linebacker from their own roster instead of looking to improve positions that have a higher value, like safety, defensive tackle, cornerback, and offensive line depth.

The Cowboys then seem happy to head into the draft looking to find diamonds in the rough at several of those positions. Yes, CeeDee Lamb and Trevon Diggs were good picks, but consistently leaving safety and a true 1-technique defensive tackle to luck is not working. Instead of trading for available players, later fans are told, “We like the guys we have.”

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It is time to change the philosophy. Stephen Jones needs to start looking at ways to actually improve the team. He needs to start looking at positional value and find ways to get those positions better. This includes letting go of bad contracts and using the draft to replace those positions of lower value in later rounds.

With shrewd moves at the right positions with investment at specific positions, the team can still approach the draft looking at the best player available. What they need to get away from is thinking a backup is a viable starter with a venue change, stop thinking over the hill players are still viable full-time starters and not role players, and stop thinking scheme over talent matters.

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Let’s hope the Cowboys have learned their lesson from the past few years. We can hope they approach 2021 looking to improve some positions and fill in the rest, then turn to the draft and look to improve where they couldn’t fully in free agency. Get talent and fit the scheme to them, the scheme shouldn’t be the deciding factor every single time. It is time to change philosophy, and it needs to start now.

  • Published on 02/23/2021 at 13:01 PM
  • Last updated at 02/23/2021 at 10:44 AM