Earlier today, Bleacher Report graded the offseasons for all 32 NFL general managers. It’s too early to tell how the offseason moves of the Dallas Cowboys and Owner and General Manager Jerry Jones have worked out. Remember last offseason. The moves in March, April, and May seemed like they’d work out, but by the time September rolled around, it was evident that the wide receiver by committee approach had not.
Bleacher Report’s Gary Davenport graded the Dallas Cowboys offseason, led by Jerry Jones as a “B-.”
Here’s what he had to say.
“However, in recent years, Jones has done a better job with the roster. Signing Randall Cobb in free agency (one year, $5 million) was a cost-effective replacement for the departed Cole Beasley. Dallas didn’t have a first-round selection because of the Amari Cooper trade, but Day 2 picks Trysten Hill and Connor McGovern could contribute early.
Add in the extension of top edge-rusher Demarcus Lawrence, and while it was a quiet offseason by Jones’ standards, it was also a pretty good one.”
Gary Davenport – Bleacher Report
He started his commentary about the Dallas Cowboys talking about comments made by Jerry Jones to Bob Costas in 2012 that he would have fired himself “if I’d had the discretion, I’ve done it with coaches and certainly I would have changed a general manager.” Yes, we know the Dallas Cowboys made a lot of poor personnel decisions from 2010 to 2013, but what does that have to do with this offseason?
Davenport summarizes the Dallas Cowboys offseason calling it a “pretty good one.” Then gives him a B-. It seems contradictory to me.
In order to fully evaluate the Dallas Cowboys and their offseason acquisitions, it’s important to understand their philosophy in the offseason. Generally, they aren’t going to chase high-priced free agents, though they made inquiries with Safety Earl Thomas. Their goal is to bring in quality depth players who could start in a pinch while looking to add difference makers in the draft.
In the context of their offseason philosophy, I’d give the Cowboys an “A.”
We can’t adequately talk about this offseason without including the move for Amari Cooper during the 2018 regular season. Sure, it’s a move that wasn’t made this offseason, but it had an impact on this offseason. Davenport mentions that the Cowboys didn’t have a first-round pick because of the Amari Cooper trade, so it’s fair to consider the Amari Cooper acquisition in our assessment of the Dallas Cowboys offseason because it directly impacts how we judge this offseason.
With Cooper their de facto first round pick and the free agent additions of Randall Cobb, Christian Covington, George Iloka, the return of Jason Witten, and the draft picks of Trysten Hill and Tony Pollard, the Cowboys don’t go into the 2019 season with any significant holes.
Trysten Hill will be vying for a big chunk of snaps in the 2019 season and if all goes according to plan will be the 3-technique starter in 2020. Connor McGovern, who is likely a backup interior offensive lineman in 2019, will probably be the starter at left guard in 2020 as the team looks to fill La’el Collins’ departure with Connor Williams. Tony Pollard is not just a gadget guy behind starting Running Back Ezekiel Elliott but will be asked to fill a lot of roles on the team, including special teams.
This doesn’t begin to touch on the Cowboys getting the long-term deal done with their best defensive player, DeMarcus Lawrence as well as resigning valuable swing tackle Cameron Fleming. Then they also brought back Tavon Austin on a one-year deal and added Former All-Pro Defensive End, Robert Quinn.
In my opinion, the Dallas Cowboys had an excellent offseason. They fortified a defense that was one of the NFL’s best in 2018, added depth to their offensive line, and playmakers for new Offensive Coordinator Kellen Moore to get “multiple” with.
Though Jerry Jones is the ultimate decision maker for the Dallas Cowboys front office, he’s making decisions based on the information he gets from trusted advisors like Stephen Jones, Jason Garrett, Will McClay, and the rest of the coaching staff. This may not have been a splashy offseason for the Dallas Cowboys, but that has become par for the course. They make good, sound decisions.