Let it be known, the Cowboys are in an arms race and they’re losing. That was evident with the news made yesterday.
You see, Jerry Jones has committed to “winning now” so much that his bank account has finally caught up with him. Years and years of restructured contracts and bad deals have put the Cowboys in a bind in terms of available cap space.
Before the offseason really started the Cowboys were $20 million over the $123 million cap. Now after a $10 million commitment to Anthony Spencer and restructuring multiple contracts the Cowboys have just enough cap space cleared to avoid being charged a luxury tax.
The Cowboys last minute scramble can only be attributed to fiscal irresponsibility.
Right or wrong, what’s done is done. The Cowboys have to be comfortable with $12.2 million a year to Brandon Carr for the next two years, the $16.6 million owed to DeMarcus Ware, and the $8 and $9 million owed to Miles Austin over 2014 and 2015. Understand that’s just a few players and all that money became guaranteed with their restructure.
Now, financially stressed, the Cowboys must not only find a way to “win now” but also win in the future.
Seattle acquired Percy Harvin and the reigning NFC Champion San Francisco 49ers acquired Anquan Boldin. Rumors are swirling that the Philadelphia Eagles may be the leading candidate for Darrelle Revis and Greg Jennings is likely to land in Minnesota.
These are big moves for franchises that will be the Cowboys direct competition for a playoff berth.
So the question remains, what can the Cowboys do to right their version of the Titanic?
For years Jerry Jones has substituted player development for expensive free agents. Jason Garrett has proven to be a masterful talent evaluator bringing draft picks like Tyron Smith, Dez Bryant (I believe that was Jason’s idea), DeMarco Murray, Morris Claiborne, Bruce Carter and Tyrone Crawford. It’s time the two come to an agreement.
The Cowboys project to be tight against the cap for the next two years at least. So it’s time that Jerry learns to trust his coach and his player development staff.
Players like Matt Johnson, Tyrone Crawford, Ronald Leary and Morris Claiborne are now the Cowboys future. The Cowboys should commit to giving them opportunities to succeed and not block their ascension with aging veterans.
Essentially the Cowboys are gambling their future on their present. That means they need to refocus not only on their player development but also refocus on their draft strategy.
Now more than ever the best player available strategy applies. The Cowboys aren’t just drafting for this years needs but next years replacements. Playmakers, game breakers and overall rare players need to be the targets.
The Cowboys need to solidify their ability to contend through being patient with their team and trusting their board. They need to save money now to ensure they can resign Sean Lee next year and Dez Bryant, Tyron Smith, DeMarco Murray and Bruce Carter in 2015.
It may be an arms race but the Cowboys may find their best course of action is to keep their finger off the trigger.