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Win Now V. Rebuilding: The Dallas Cowboys Are Both

“They’re in win now mode.” Who among us has heard that ad nauseam over the course of the last, oh I don’t know, fifty million days? I’ve spent a lot of time digesting this supposed ideology over the last week. I contemplated it to my self and talked about it on various audio platforms: The RJ Ochoa Show, The Footbology Podcast with Marcus Mosher, and my fellow Staff Writer Sean Martin’s school radio show, UFR on WMSC.

RJ Ochoa



Cowboys Headlines - Win Now Versus Rebuilding: The Dallas Cowboys Are Both

"They're in win now mode."

Who among us has heard that ad nauseam over the course of the last, oh I don't know, fifty million days?

I've spent a lot of time digesting this supposed ideology over the last week. I contemplated it to my self and talked about it on various audio platforms: The RJ Ochoa Show, The Footbology Podcast with Marcus Mosher, and my fellow Staff Writer Sean Martin's school radio show, UFR on WMSC.

When the Cowboys selected Ezekiel Elliott with the 4th Overall Pick a conclusion could be drawn that their primary focus was the immediate future, or as some people like to refer to it thanks to a horrible quote from Jerry Jones years ago... The Romo Window. For the record that's an ideology, if you want to call it that, that I'm cool with and had started to fully digest.

Cowboys Headlines - Win Now Versus Rebuilding: The Dallas Cowboys Are Both 1

My world, and the collective one of Cowboys Nation, was flipped upside down when thirty picks later Jaylon Smith was the name that Michael Irvin called on behalf of America's Team. Jaylon Smith is without a doubt an incredible football player, but given his current health status he is without a doubt an investment in the future.

Wait a minute... I thought we were win now? Isn't that what the Zeke pick said? I made my peace with this, Jerry. I had jackets made up. "Win Now Win Now Everybody Take A Bow" was going to be my rallying cry! I'm so confused now!


The collective national opinion has become that the Cowboys are win now and that the there is simply no explanation for the Jaylon Smith pick, as potentially awesome as it could one day be. People have surrendered themselves to the notion that because the Cowboys want an elite talent behind their stud Offensive Line, whom I've eloquently nicknamed the "Space Cowboys" by the way, they are totally and completely all-in for the remaining years of Tony Romo's career.

Well... shouldn't they be?

Are the Patriots not all-in for the rest of Tom Brady's career? Do the Giants not want to get the most out of the remainder of Eli Manning's days in New York? Will Pittsburgh not be focused on getting another championship before Ben Roethlisberger retires?

Is Tony Romo the only quarterback in the NFL who's team is focused on surrounding with talent for his sake? For his "window"? Of course not, because that's absurd.


Alright class we've now officially debunked the whole "win now" nonsense, but what about this whole rebuilding fiasco? How do we explain the Jaylon Smith pick for example?

I've said this before and I will say it until it no longer rings true: Tony Romo has never played a game where he was mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.

Romo missed the final stretches of 2010 and 2015 thanks to injury, but every single game that he has ever played whether in the early days of September or the cold and frigid night of December has mattered. There are only two other current NFL quarterbacks with significant time in the league who can say the same, Tom Brady and Joe Flacco.

What does that have to do with rebuilding? Everything. This team in this supposed Romo window has always been in contention. That's an indication that you can make an assumption that, barring injury, the same will hold true in 2016.

Since the Cowboys have that advantage they can afford to draft a player like Jaylon Smith and reap the benefits of him down the road because they will, like they always have been under Romo, be relevant when it matters.

I'm not beyond saying that's an arrogant approach to building a team, but history shows that they can manage that type of risk and be totally fine.

So to answer whether the 2016 Dallas Cowboys are focused on the immediate future or long-term success of this team... they have been, are now, and will always will be focused on both at once. They're just better at it than everyone realizes.

What are your thoughts on the whole Win Now Versus Rebuilding debate? Let us know! Comment below, Email me at, or Tweet to me at @rjochoa!

Tell us what you think about "Win Now V. Rebuilding: The Dallas Cowboys Are Both" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @RJOchoa!

I like long walks on the beach, mystery novels, no just kidding those suck. The Dallas Cowboys were put on this earth for us all to love and appreciate. I do that 24/7/365. I also love chicken parmesan. Let's roll. @RJOchoa if you wanna shout!

1 Comment
  • cjprine

    The Elliot pick definitely showed a win now with Romo and beyond- no secret Romo maybe has a few years left-the Elliot pick allows the Cowboys philosophy on offense can change from a pass happy type to a QB game mgmt type! Run run pass! I think the jaylon pick is this- they were willing to part with it to get a QB w/ lynch clearly they didn't their guy, however there is a guy that CAN be a game changer on defense IF he can get healthy- I still think this is a win now mindset because they are taking a chance on someone with HUGE upside! I don't think they had anyone on the board they felt was a must have and didn't get a deal they like to trade down! All in all its going to come down wether or not jaylon gets healthy if it the risk was worth the reward!

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Player News

Report: Raiders Sign Former Cowboys LB Kyle Wilber

Kevin Brady



Cowboys Headlines - Dallas Cowboys Re-Sign Linebacker Kyle Wilber

A Free Agency period filled with departures continued for the Dallas Cowboys today, as the Oakland Raiders have reportedly signed the now-former Cowboys LB Kyle Wilber.


The Raiders have signed LB Kyle Wilber:

Wilber has been with the Cowboys since 2012, and has played in all 16 games four of the past five seasons. Most of his time has come on special teams, but he did provide solid linebacker depth for the Cowboys since joining the team.

Dallas has now lost both Wilber and Anthony Hitchens, depleting their linebacker depth even further over the last couple weeks.

The Raiders have now signed two key special teams contributors for the Cowboys in Keith Smith and Kyle Wilber this offseason. Hopefully Dallas can replace these types of "replacement level" players throughout the rest of the offseason, especially during the NFL Draft.

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Player News

Report: Cowboys Officially Release CB Orlando Scandrick

Kevin Brady



Orlando Scandrick

After requesting his release from the team just a few days ago, Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick has gotten his wish. According to ESPN's Josina Anderson, Scandrick has officially been cut by the Dallas Cowboys.

Josina Anderson on Twitter

I'm told the #Cowboys have informed CB Orlando Scandrick he will be released, per source.

This move will reportedly save the Cowboys roughly $1.4M against the salary cap, as we hope they finally look to make some moves during the Free Agency period.

Scandrick's release comes after an offseason in which the Cowboys totally overhauled the back end of their defense, specifically their cornerbacks. With the emergence of young, promising players such as Chidobe Awuzie and Jourdan Lewis, and the health issues of the aging Scandrick, the move makes a lot of sense.

In fact, after the Cowboys drafted Awuzie in the second round of last year's draft it was rumored the Cowboys were looking to move Scandrick for extra draft picks. Instead, one year later, they have cut him to save some cap room.

Orlando Scandrick should have a market to find a new team elsewhere, but his time in Dallas has now come to a close.

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Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys Have Missing Piece at Offensive Line

Jess Haynie



Dallas Cowboys Have Big Hole on Offensive Line
Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News

There are a lot of positions being talked about right now for the Dallas Cowboys. Upgrades are needed at several spots, but one critical position needs even more than that. Left guard is completely unmanned, and that could be a big problem for the 2018 offensive line if it's not addressed soon.

Last year's starter, Jonathan Cooper, is currently an unrestricted free agent. So are backups Joe Looney and Byron Bell.

Right now, Chaz Green is the only other non-starter under contract who has any NFL experience at left guard. Nobody wants to see him on the field next year.

Dez Bryant may be a big topic but at least he's under contract. The same goes for safety, where we at least have options to turn to if free agency or the draft don't yield anything.

Left guard, though? The cupboard is bare.

La'el Collins' Position Flex Could Come in Handy for Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys OT La'el Collins

One option could be to move La'el Collins back to guard, where many feel he has the most upside, and then find a new right tackle. But that would be changing two positions to fill one hole, and Collins was playing well at tackle by the end of the year.

And obviously, we don't want to see Chaz Green playing that spot either. Or any spot. Ever.

No, at this point it makes sense for Dallas to leave Collins where he is and either sign or draft a starting LG. The question is how much do they want to invest?

The Cowboys are already shelling out big bucks to Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zack Martin. Even Collins counts about $7 million against the cap. They have three first-round picks already tied up in the offensive line.

Some thought veteran free agent Josh Sitton would be a nice option, but he got picked up by the Dolphins today for about $8-9 million per year. That's more than Dallas can afford given their limited cap space and other needs.

No, the LG in 2018 is going to need to be a salary cap bargain. That means either re-signing Jonathan Cooper or Joe Looney on the cheap, or perhaps paying a rookie salary to a high draft pick.

Last year's 19th overall pick, O.J. Howard, counted just $2 million against the Bucs' salary cap in 2017.

There are some older veterans who could be cheap band-aid options, such as Matt Slauson or Evan Smith. But you don't get very far down some lists of available guards before you see Jonathan Cooper's name, and continuity is always a plus.

The point here is don't expect any big move, even with the enormity of the need. Dallas will likely reach an agreement with Cooper after he's tested the free agent waters a bit, assuming nobody else scoops him up.

If not, the need at left guard will become increasingly dire the further we get into the offseason.

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