Sixth grade can be a rough time for a guy.
You're getting acclimated to middle school, and is it me or did the concept of “class periods” confuse anyone else? The first time that bell rang and I had to pack up to leave my current class I was in a state of complete bewilderment. It must've taken me a full month to learn my schedule, but I digress.
Beyond social studies, science, and math… the toughest subject to tackle is girls. You're a sixth grader so you're innately awkward, that's just the way it goes. The best part about the whole experience is that someone came up with the idea of school dances for us to all partake in. Thanks a lot, whoever that was.
We've all been there. Leaning up against a wall, punch in hand, longingly (that's a pun that'll come back around soon, I promise) staring out at the dance floor. We hope and pray that somehow a girl will instinctually know that we want to dance and everything will work out like in the movies.
Then that one song comes on and the intensity rises. You know that this is your one shot, your one opportunity (shout out to Eminem!). For me that song was “All Or Nothing” by O-Town. I make no apologies as that is an epic song to this day.
The bass starts booming and the never-ending strobe lights go round and round. The butterflies in your belly start running rampant and you finally get enough courage to start just thinking about asking a girl to dance.
You scan the perimeter. “Well she might say yes… I have a class with her… She shared a Dunkaroo with me once… Oh gosh no not her…” Ultimately though you just want to Whitney Houston this thing and dance with somebody.
Finally it's 4th and Long. You've got to make a decision because the game depends on it. You didn't come here to punt so you take a deep breath and somehow put one foot in front of the other. Just as you come within striking distance you remember that this is the worst idea ever and you completely bail!
It feels like that's how the Dallas Cowboys have handled Free Agency this offseason.
Olivier Vernon was the most beautiful girl in school, but they lost out on him to their arch nemesis. The girl that they'd had a crush on forever, Lamar Miller, somehow slipped through their fingers towards a guy in their homeroom. It was tough to watch.
Sure the Cowboys made some noise by re-signing some of their own (Rolando McClain, Kyle Wilber, Morris Claiborne, James Hanna, Charles Brown, & Josh Thomas) and wooing Defensive Tackle Cedric Thornton away from the Philadelphia Eagles down to Big D. But those don't really count. That's like “dancing” with a girl to the YMCA or Cupid Shuffle, it's not the same!
Even after the Cowboys lowered what might have been lofty expectations down to Adrian Clayborn and Matt Moore… the two decided to stay with their current dance partners and not hit the floor with America's Team. Late Tuesday night the Cowboys reached a new level in terms of unwilling dance partners.
Chris Long, who was scheduled to have dinner with the Cowboys on Tuesday evening, decided that he'd rather blow them off entirely and signed with the New England Patriots. That's like asking a girl to dance and her saying, “Oh yea we will next song!” and then you see her twirlin' round the bend with someone else! It's humiliating!
Many have justified the unwillingness of Cowboys dance partners as the Front Office being wise and responsible financially, and that very well may be true. That song and dance seemed more believable before Chris Long decided that being wined and dined by Jerry Jones and Co. wasn't even worth his time. You can call it fiscal responsibility, but it also looks like no one wants to dance with the Cowboys.
The Cowboys are sorely in need of some help at multiple positions on their team. Sure the NFL Draft a month and a half from now will help fill some of those holes, but the NFC East isn't waiting like the Cowboys. The Giants, Eagles, and Redskins have all been wheelin' and dealin' their way through Free Agency like the kid who's asking every girl to dance (You can see every NFL Free Agent Acquisition right here).
So the Cowboys are currently playing the wallflower role at the 2016 Free Agency Dance. They're leaning up against the wall and acting cool while everyone else shakes, shimmies, and boogies the night away. They seem to be looking at the success of 2014 and treating 2015 as an aberration due to injury.
When O-Town spoke the immortal words “There's nowhere left to fall, when you reach the bottom its now or never,” I thought that they were just trying to motivate me to ask a girl to dance. I now know that even back then they were giving advice to the 2016 Cowboys.
We would all be living in denial if we said that current Cowboy legends Tony Romo and Jason Witten are going to play forever. Even Dez Bryant is about to enter his sixth NFL season. Time is ticking, and it seems like the Cowboys are either being perhaps too stubborn with their willingness to pay players or they are simply being outdone by the competition.
I'm not advocating an “all-in” approach to this thing by any means. I'm not saying that there's a “window” or any other sort of cliche.
I'm saying that there's a dance happening right in front of us. Let's get off the wall and find a partner.
What do you think of the way that the Dallas Cowboys have approached Free Agency? Let us know! Comment below, Email me at RJ@RJOchoaShow.com, or Tweet to me at @rjochoa!