The Dallas Cowboys have some work to do this off-season. A 13-3 year is nice, but falling to accomplish their ultimate goal means there is plenty to improve upon. As we’ve written here, there are in-house free agents they must entertain re-signing before they make any outside moves, but the Cowboys will also have to move on players outside the organization as well.
In the past few years, free agency for the Cowboys has meant paying their own players and waiting for the market to calm down before jumping into the fray. This has resulted in the team signing bargain players who fit their scheme and style of play.
Gone are the days of Jerry Jones spending all willy nilly on players with brand name recognition. This has been a major shift in philosophy with Jason Garrett, Stephen Jones and Will McClay all becoming more involved in recent years.
It’s the right approach that most of the top organizations in the league adhere to and it takes discipline to operate this way. In the limited sample size, the results have been positive for Dallas, they are getting the right fits for the best price on the market. Not overspending has allowed them to keep their young core of talent, supplement the roster and should see them thrive for years to come.
However, if there was a year to loosen up the purse strings and go big game fishing, this is it. The Cowboys might not be one player away (I think that theory only seriously applies to quarterbacks), but they are one big upgrade away from becoming a major threat to win the Super Bowl for years to come. With the good, young quarterback on the roster, to go along with the stud running back with fresh legs, a great wide receiver, and a dominant offensive line, the Cowboys have everything in place on offense to continue to make serious playoff runs every season.
The defense can do more than come along for the ride, IF they spend the money on the team’s biggest weakness. It’s no secret that Dallas needs a major upgrade at pass rusher and there are a few about to hit the open market. The Cowboys don’t need to make a habit of spending big money in free agency, but this year might be the exception.
A few of the names that should interest the team are Chandler Jones, Jason Pierre-Paul, Melvin Ingram and Nick Perry. Even DeMarcus Ware should make the list, probably at a lower rate from the others, which may benefit the team. Each of these players could help upgrade the pass rush significantly and make the defense a much better unit than they have been in the past few seasons.
If the Cowboys want to get over the hump, the opportunity to add someone who can help is there. If they want someone to knock down and disrupt Aaron Rodgers from making game winning plays against them, go get a pass rusher. They don’t grow on trees and they rarely come at the bottom half of the first round in the draft; the price will be high, but it will be worth it.
The other pieces are already there for the Cowboys to be Super Bowl worthy and even though it doesn’t look like it now, the team can make room under the cap to sign one of these elite edge players. In today’s NFL, it’s all about the quarterbacks, how well they play and disrupting them is how to win games. The Cowboys currently win in just one of those ways, but that can easily change.
Overall, the Dallas Cowboys have made great strides in how they approach the off-season. They make very good business decisions and are becoming more fiscally responsible every year. This type of move would be an outlier to how they go about free agency, and it would be a costly maneuver, but now is the time to strike. Even if they sign a premium pass rusher, they still need to attack the position in the draft. As the new saying goes, you can never have enough pass rushers.
It’s probably a pipe dream to think the team will go after a premium edge rusher, but they should. Charles Haley was once the final piece to a Super Bowl dynasty and these Cowboys should leave no stone unturned to final a similar answer now.
The free agent waters await, maybe a championship too.
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