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Dallas Cowboys Offseason: Don’t Panic in Early Stages of Free Agency

When it comes to the Dallas Cowboys’ free agency habits, the Notorious B.I.G. said it best, “well, if you don’t know, now you know.” While there was hope that the Cowboys would be aggressive on day one of free agency, they didn’t really pull the trigger aside from adding a long snapper and offering tenders to a couple of restricted free agents.

But that shouldn’t come as a surprise to Cowboys Nation. The Dallas Cowboys front office hasn’t been in the habit of spending big money in free agency or getting aggressive with highly sought-after targets. As the Cowboys seek to fill several defensive holes in free agency and the draft, one player they were interested in was defensive tackle Dalvin Tomlinson, according to Michael Gehlken.

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Cowboys liked ex-Giants DT Dalvin Tomlinson, but they were not in the chase for him, source said. Too costly. Tomlinson departed Giants for Vikings via two-year, $22M deal, as Cowboys seek defensive help at right value. Several needs to fill between free agency and draft.

As it often happens, the Cowboys struck out on a player that ends up getting a contract beyond what the Cowboys would be willing to pay. But that miss alone shouldn’t cause you to worry about their offseason plan in 2021. Did you really want the Dallas Cowboys getting into a bidding war for a 1-technique defensive tackle?

We’re just one day into the legal tampering period of free agency, and there are still a lot of names to be had. Sure, the Cowboys’ addiction to low-rent free agent acquisitions hasn’t always worked out. However, there’s still plenty of time for the Stephen Jones, Will McClay, and the Dallas Cowboys front office to get involved in free agency and improve their team.

But as we know, they won’t go beyond their comfort zone. Even though they signed Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Dontari Poe, Blake Bell, Aldon Smith, and Gerald McCoy in free agency last year, most of those acquisitions failed to contribute. The Aldon Smith signing was a hit. Smith tailed off in the second half of the season, which could easily be attributed to fatigue, not being fully prepared for the grind of a 16 game NFL season.

The Cowboys’ reality had an interest in Tomlinson should be a positive indicator that the Cowboys are willing to spend at the defensive tackle position in free agency. That reality hasn’t always been the case.

Yes, it’s unlikely that the Cowboys will be big spenders in free agency, but that doesn’t mean they can’t find quality additions to improve their defense. And at the same time, there’s still time for them to go out and make a splash in free agency with a big-name player at a defensive position of need.

The Cowboys have their M.O. when it comes to free-agent spending and right or wrong, it’s a direction, and they stick to it. Any good organization stays true to its core values. For better or worse, the Cowboys have created a value system that focuses on drafting and developing players and supplementing their roster with low-priced contracts on one or two-year deals.

With Richard Sherman, Anthony Harris, and many other free agents still available, there is still an opportunity for the Cowboys to “fix the defense” in free agency before the Jacksonville Jaguars go on the clock in the 2021 NFL Draft.

What do you think?

John Williams

Written by John Williams

Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual, reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could.

Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.

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  1. Yep the typical modus operandi of Cowboys to let the great players go and get the leftovers.
    It’s really the formula to success and has worked real well lately.

  2. A good organization will alter it’s path when it not working. Dallas while spending little on free agents also is in the bottom five in the NFL on return on investment of it’s free agents. Considering so little investment that shows just how bad they miss by bargain hunting. Sooner or later you have to take a shot at something.

  3. Unfortunately John, unlike you I am a pessimistic Cowboys fan. Can you blame me though, they haven’t been all that successful over the past 25 years or so.

    Due the past 25 years the Cowboys very rarely pick up big name, all pros in free agency. Instead, they wait and hope to catch lightning in a bottle. I’m curious when they will learn that waiting to sign players at a discount isn’t working. They clearly aren’t budgeting their cap space because their free agency record speaks for itself. Any Cowboy fan knows they need to improve on the defensive side of the ball yet they will wait to sign players on the cheap meanwhile the good players sign elsewhere.

    Insanity at its best. I’m just not sure if it’s the decisions being made by Cowboy executives or us fans hoping things will change.

  4. Yeah and the thing is too , when they do tale a shot on someone , they bring a guy in with previous injuries, and guess what , they get injured again .

    There’s still a couple guys out there i like , Malcom Brown at DT , Mike Davis at CB , and Nicholas Morrow at LB , but the clock is ticking , I’d love to have all 3 of these guys but doubt we will , need to start making moves on these guys before the entire league focuses their attention on them

  5. God freaking WFT is inquiring about Nicholas Morrow , like they don’t have enough defensive players lol

    and they got Fitzmagic , QB Ryan Fitzpatrick on a 1 year deal , another guy i wanted to backup Dak

  6. Cowboys did NOT have interest in Tomlinson. Based on his expected money months ago he was eliminated. Real Cowboys fans know this. Jerry rewards many of his own players with above average salary, see Tyrone Crawford, but then gets cheap on the open market.. Nothing wrong with “value” but generally you get what you pay for. As long as he’s there they will never be contenders again for meaningful difference makers infree agency. And Woods though he does at times get a push in passing situations, is horrible against the run. WHY bring back a problem on the line? And for more money!

  7. John, I’m going to have to completely disagree with you on this one. This “direction” actually fits in the category for the definition of insanity. Doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. I’ve been a true and unwavering fan since ‘71 and over the past 25 years that’s been very painful. Something Jerry will never understand since he is a fan and not a general manager is that defense wins championships and he will never figure that out i.e. refusing to take the safety position seriously. Bottom line: this team is badly mismanaged by unqualified people, starting from the top.

  8. Beauty of this covid off-season is so many teams have to let quality players leave that there should be ay least 1-2 desirable non dumpster dive, bargain basement players the team can go over, assuming they want to. Which we know they don’t…and won’t.

  9. Okay B.S. you can get mid tier fa right now in principal JJ when he bought he bought the team went for FA like Ray Horton and Thomas Everett & Novacek now 25 years of mediocre teams have him loose fingers with Cap did loose Lockhart in the 90’s & Ken Norton so he knows from experience that not ponying up can cost you.

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