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.
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.
— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) March 16, 2021
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.