Is the Cowboys’ Approach to Free Agency Limiting Success?

    It's no secret that the are not very active in , choosing instead to draft and develop players while veteran players on manageable contracts. Every now and then the team will make a splash in the market, like in 2019 when they sent their first-round pick to the then for . Aside from that, the Cowboys have had a very conservative approach to signing talent.

    In an that we finally saw the Cowboys and Dak Prescott agree to a deal, a deal that had more than a $15 million difference in the cap hit, it wasn't too hard to conceive the idea that they could use the extra cap room to acquire talent. However, it looks like more of the same in Dallas.

    Senior reporter Josina Anderson tweeted out the Cowboys' approach to free agency will stay the course.

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    The Cowboys used to be known for Jerry Jones's high spending and flashy moves. Sometimes they would hit, like the signings of , , and . Sometimes they would miss like trading for Receiver or Adam “Pac-Man” Jones. In either instance, they showed they were willing to go any and all routes to compete.

    In recent, more conservative years, the Cowboys have had some success by making the post-season, but have yet to even make it as far as to the Championship game.

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    Looking at recent winners and even the teams that participated in the conference championships, they all drafted, made key trades, and signed outside . For example, look at the effect the made signing last , going from 7-9 to win it all the next season, or how good the Browns have become over the past few seasons adding players like Jack Conklin, , and , leading to their first playoff appearance since 2002.

    Drafting and developing your own talent is important, and what should be the first focus since that's where these relationships have started. However, when you limit your approach to team building, you're limiting your team's success.

    Jerry Jones is a shrewd businessman, but even he should know you got to spend money to make money, and the Cowboys haven't spent enough.

    Shane Carter
    Shane Carter
    Lifelong Cowboys fan, who doesn’t mind telling the harsh truth. I’ve got a Bachelors Degree in Electronic Media and Communications from Texas Tech University. I welcome all opinions but I will shut down any troll.


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    Same approach different year..I’ve lost that “hopefully something will happen” mentality for awhile now but you never know. Wishful thinking for dem boyz GO COWBOYS


    There are teams that live by the philosophy of “building for the future” but what happens when the future passes you by and you have nothing to show for it?

    In this case it’s (25+ years and counting)….

    Don Howard

    Something is limiting success because we haven’t had much of it in over 2 decades but I think the problem is a little deeper MANAGEMENT


    Indeed it feels hopeless at this point , Jerry doesn’t know what he’s doing ,

    The best team’s in the league know when to admit they are wrong

    The Pats drafted 2 TEs last year in the 3rd round , now they pay top FA dollar for 2 new TEs ,

    The Rams saw that they got a really good team , problem is they’re limited at QB , and they go and get a better one ,

    The problems is Jerry doesn’t want to admit he makes mistakes , he feels he’s the smartest guy in the room , when he’s most certainly not , he’s got too much pride , when he hits on something he says I told you so ! and then when he gets something wrong he doesn’t own up to it ,

    in the end the team will forever be limited under Jerry’s regime , it’s something i’ve came to realize the past few year’s , and unless Dak is a transcendent QB (He’ll probably be a Romo 2.0) we won’t go anywhere as far as a SB till Jerry is in the dirt


    Cowboys are doomed Steven is just as bad or worse, I see no hope, sad because I’m a life long cowboys fan, but after all the years of being sold on being hopeful, now I only have is a sense of utter hopelessness

    Chuck Wright

    Most in the NFL are starting to realize around half the big $$$$$ FAs turn into major busts .. .. See Bryon Jones as just one example. If Dallas was “one player away”, then go for it. But Dallas’ biggest FA signings came by signing their own. Most have been hits, I hope Dak is. Zeke was a big mistake. Tron, Martin, Collins and DLaw, all good signings though some bad injury luck. So Dallas has not “limited their approach” simply limited their targets.

    Cleveland? Hate to break this to you but Dallas has won the division twice in Dak’s 4 years and it would have been 3 had he not broken his ankle. And they built via the draft primarily.

    Now an interesting article would be to go back say 2 seasons (or do it over multiple seasons) and rank the FA signings that were home runs/worth the money vs not worth the money


    I don’t see a problem with this strategy. Its just a matter of knowing which home grown players to pay. We’d be in a much different position in terms of our offseason priorities had we resigned Byron Jones over Zeke or Jaylon. We have a top notch scout in Will McClay who I would make a GM so we don’t lose him.

    Lawrence E Stacy

    I can handle A lot from the Cowboys as a 35 year fan, even the losing. What I am getting sick of is the seemingly lack of trying and being willing to role the dice going for a few win now moves. Jerry loves the income and popularity but when a fan like myself stops watching in frustration he should rethink. Eventually his bottom line will be affected.


    At the end of the day you get what you pay for and Cowboys have got nothing in free agency.
    Perhaps they should change their M.O.
    You do need a defense to win when it counts!

    Roy Chambers

    As a Cowboys fan from they’re very beginning it hurts to watch the same old approach to free agency at what point do the Jones’s admit they’re approach to free agency doesn’t work you can’t expect to enter a nag in the Kentucky Derby having any kind of hope to win the race the Jones’s keep trotting those same old nags out on the field for the 100 time they come up short as fans we have seen this movie what rights do we have to expect a different outcome

    Michael Campbell

    The Dallas Cowboys are used for NFL marketing and advertising for the league to grow it doesn’t take a genius to see that there’s no real pressure to win as the Dallas Cowboys because the fans of this era and in love with the popularity and the show not really achieving Championship results it’s about selling hope and excitement of the dream and selling lots of merchandise and tickets

    E W Lawrence

    2021 will see us Super Bowl bound

    Ken j

    Jerry and Stephen Jones have one weakness, they think they know how to pick football players. Unfortunately for the fans, they don’t understand how to put players together that compliment each other. A true football guy can recognize what players can do and what is needed for them to maximize their potential. This has been proven time and again over the last 2 1/2 decades. The three Super Bowls in the 90’s those teams were picked by Jimmy Johnson not Jerry Jones.

    Cowboys fan

    All of you guys are wrong blaming Jerry!! It’s not Jerry, it’s Steven!! Have you guys forgotten how Jerry was in the 90s…. He didn’t care to go out and get big name free agents!! I remember Jerry and Steven talking about how they about got into one day when Jerry decided he was gonna bring in Deion Sanders!! Steven didn’t like it and went off on Jerry!! But now Steven is over the salary cap and he decides on how much we spend on players in free agency!! He’s the reason we don’t get big name free agents…. Not Jerry!!

    Gary b

    CHUCK WRIGHT- The answer to ur question is we have signed very very few FAs who have been difference makers in the last 20 years. Part of the reason being we have generally preferred going the route of resigning our own players.

    Now JUSTIN is right in saying that resigning ur own players can be a good strategy vs going outside the team for ur signings. He also hit on the problem as being Jerry making some poor decisions in that regard.

    Jerry resigning Zeke TWO YEARS early was one of the worst signings in his career. A RBs most productive years are years 1-4. Why would you resign them to a huge contract as they are entering the least productive phase of their career? I’ve always said when a RB finishes their rookie contract go find another one. Good ones can be found in the 2nd/3rd round ( D Henry/ D Cook/ A Kamara).

    T Crawford was signed to a huge contract and has never been more than an above average. Jerry also refused to cut him in the latter years of his contract when his production had dipped to near zero.

    Part of Jerry’s problem is he gets emotionally invested in his players. On the surface this would seem an admirable quality . But it also prevents him from making the necessary business decisions to improve the team.

    The jury is still out on whether Dak will live up to that big contract, but Jerry’s proven history of not being able to build a team around Dak will have as much bearing on the success of the cowboys as the performance of Dak.

    Dak has only been with the cowboys for five years. How do u explain the other 20 years of futility? The common denominator is plain to see here.


    Don’t forget who writes the checks Cowboys Fan , Jerry overpaid D-Law , Zeke , Cooper , and J Smith just to name some here as of late , kinda wish Stephen had a even stronger hold on Jerry’s spending , maybe then we’d have money still we could spend on top FAs on D like Harris at Safety , but now he’s likely out of our price range


    With the FA the Giants and WFT are signing, this Cowboys team is going to finish 6-10 again.