Not too long ago Stephen Jones told anyone who would listen that the Dallas Cowboys were not done in free agency. We have heard the narrative that roster building is a 24/7/365 job and that the front office is always looking.
At the same time, we know they want to find value signings, and they “like their guys”. So since the middle of March fans have waited for roster building to continue. First, it was “wait until the second and third wave of free agents”. Then it was “wait until the draft.” Most recently it was “Post June-1 cuts will be when the Dallas Cowboys will jump into free agency.” Fans are still waiting.
As of writing this, the Cowboys have $20 million in cap space to spend on free agents. However, they want to carry as much money to help with their “cap issues” for 2023. What we have seen is that while other teams seem to be able to navigate the salary cap and still sign players, the front office, and specifically Adam Prasifka the “cap specialist”, believe the cap can not be manipulated in any real way. But that is a discussion for another day.
The Dallas Cowboys have enough cap space to add players in 2022, whether it is depth or even a starter, but they seem content to not do so.
There are rumors that the Cowboys may want to keep Ezekiel Elliott next season, which would certainly not help their inability to navigate the salary cap, but it seems to go deeper than that.
Consistently we hear how they use certain contracts as a reason to refuse using free agency. However, after watching the Rams this offseason, it is apparent they either don’t know how to navigate the system or they really don’t care to add talent outside of the draft and get lucky on the bargain signings year in and year out.
The second reason seems the most plausible as they used to spend until they felt they got burned by the Brandon Carr signing (which I don’t think they did, but another discussion for another day).
So what exactly are we waiting for to add talent to a roster that lost quite a bit of talent and depth this offseason?
Well, the answer is no one actually knows. Perhaps they really do believe they don’t need to add anyone, maybe they fear chemistry issues, or maybe it is really just as simple as they see the cap differently from just about every team in the league. Whatever the reason, it is a trend many hope they change in the near future.
There are still some free agents out there who are better than what is currently on the roster. Whether it is starting quality or depth, I don’t think anyone would disagree there are players available that upgrade somewhere on the roster. Perhaps they are waiting for one year, at some point in the future, to go all-in and 2023 is not that year. Whatever the reasoning, fans are getting impatient with the lack of roster building the front office says they are always looking to do.
Regardless of their reasoning, and whatever anyone thinks about how the front office addresses roster building, the simple fact is what they say and what they do are two different things. Perhaps they are now waiting for the 90-man roster cuts, who knows. What we do know is there is $20 million sitting around, not getting used. So what exactly are we waiting for Stephen?