It's almost that time of the year. You know, that moment in March when free agents are being signed all around the league and we think to ourselves: “Will the Dallas Cowboys make a big signing this time?” Year after year, despite knowing how unlikely it is, we're expecting something to happen.
Well, it's not even February and it already looks like we're in for another quiet free agency in 2018. Earlier this week, Stephen Jones' comments to the media got a lot of Cowboys fans, writers and analysts discussing this team's approach to free agency.
Stephen Jones outlines what should be a familiarity strategy for the Cowboys in 2018 — keeping their own and working the draft.
This franchise has adopted a process of building a team via the NFL Draft. While we may not be happy with coaching or even some football players, it's more than fair to say this front office has been doing a very good job at drafting football players for a few years now.
This is a football team that built one of the best offensive lines in the league by drafting top talent. Just a year ago, they let go most of their veteran defensive backs go, and walked away with Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis — two cornerbacks who look like the future in Dallas.
One of the main reasons this franchise doesn't make big splashes in free agency is their cap space. Every season, this team struggles with low cap numbers. Take this year for example.
Per Over The Cap, the Cowboys are expected to have around $18M in 2018. This seems like quite a bit, and even more when you realize the team can restructure players or release a few expandable players (like Orlando Scandrick) who'll save this team some millions.
Who knows, they may end up surprising us all by saying goodbye to Dez Bryant.
Even still, the Cowboys “To-Do” list is a huge one. In one offseason, they'll try to keep DeMarcus Lawrence, David Irving and Anthony Hitchens, and give Zack Martin his long-awaited contract extension.
If they decide to tag DeMarcus Lawrence, that's more than $17M gone in an instant. Zack Martin will probably become the highest paid guard in the NFL. Hitchens and Lawrence won't be as expensive as these guys, but they won't come cheap either.
Getting this done won't be easy, but now imagine trying to bring in free agents who can improve this team. However, it's still possible if they decide to make some moves.
There will be a lot of talent available in March, and some of them could help this football team a lot. There're a lot of NFL teams who've benefited from bringing in free agents and the Cowboys might start wanting to do something different.
With a very tough offseason ahead, who knows if this will be the year that changes.