The first several waves of free agency have come and gone and the Dallas Cowboys have done a Dallas Cowboys-like job of filling their needs with free agents. Low-cost, short-term additions that fall right in line with their core values of team building.
The draft is next on the horizon, now just a couple of weeks away. But not long after Mr. Irrelevant is selected with the final pick of the 2021 NFL Draft comes another key date in the offseason. May 3rd.
On or after May 3rd, free agents signed by teams no longer figure into the compensatory pick formula.
The NFL moved the date closer to the draft to give both teams and players an opportunity to find good fits before teams start getting into offseason training activities and minicamps. It’s a rule that the Cowboys have used quite well in recent years to add depth players, even if they didn’t pan out quite like we thought they might.
However, this year has the opportunity to provide the biggest impact as several key free agents linked to the Dallas Cowboys are still available. In particular former Dan Quinn players Richard Sherman and KJ Wright. And it sounds as if Richard Sherman is just as content waiting until after the draft to find a team to play for. And it sounds as if Sherman is content waiting until after the draft as well.
Though the speculation on both players has died off in recent weeks, there’s always a chance talks could reignite after the draft as the Cowboys have a better understanding of where their roster is heading.
As the Dallas Cowboys front office has valued the draft more and more in the last decade, they’ve come to value their compensatory picks as well. It fits their free agent philosophy very well. Sign one-year contracts for players who won’t count against you in the comp pick formula. Hope they increase their value so that they net you a compensatory pick in the following year. They did it through trade with Robert Quinn. And they benefited through the one-year deal they signed with Randall Cobb.
That’s why that May 3rd deadline is like the second start of free agency. It takes away the consequence of signing a player and the Cowboys could still use some help.
There are few positions on the roster that couldn’t use some help. Though they don’t need a starter, the Cowboys could still use a veteran backup in the wake of Dalton’s departure.
Though free agency may have cooled for the Cowboys, it wouldn’t surprise me if they’ve got one or two more impact signings to make this offseason. They’re a team with an offense ready to contend. They need a defense that isn’t going to allow 30 points on the regular to give them a shot at making a deep run in the playoffs.
And there are still several players out there who could help the Dallas Cowboys defense.