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Cowboys are very open about free agency approach, but that doesn't mean it's right strategy year in and year out

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  • Cowboys are very open about free agency approach, but that doesn't mean it's right strategy year in and year out

    1. Kirk Cousins just signed an unprecedented contract with Minnesota guaranteeing all $84 million of his three-year deal. What will that mean for Dak Prescott and Cowboys when they look to negotiate a long-term agreement?

    Brandon George: Certainly contracts can have a trickle-down effect on future deals. Kirk Cousins getting all his money guaranteed will have agents pushing other teams to get a similar deal. But, don't look for NFL teams to all of a sudden start fully guaranteeing more deals because of Cousins, not with the injury risk in football. Dak Prescott is in line for a huge deal regardless of what happened to Cousins, and he'll have a big portion of his final tally guaranteed. But not all of it will be guaranteed. The Cowboys believe Prescott as their franchise quarterback of the future and he'll soon be well-paid to remain in Dallas long-term.

    Kate Hairopoulos:
    It means Dak's a pretty happy dude these days. Even before Cousins got his deal, Jerry Jones said that Dak will get his "extraordinary" contract eventually (from somebody, possibly the Cowboys). Dak's eligible for an extension as early as next offseason, and his next contract will provide the first real money the former fourth-round draft pick gets from his full-time job, not endorsement deals. Of course, the coming season is huge for Dak and his future with the Cowboys.

    The Cousins deal could affect him and all quarterbacks and -- eventually -- other premier positions in the NFL. The key now is to watch how the next wave of established quarterbacks -- with far more skins on the wall than Cousins -- negotiate their contracts. Will getting all or more money guaranteed become the standard or will this remain the exception? Young quarterbacks like Dak sure hope so, NFL teams not so much. Timing can be everything on these deals, so it also will add more interest to if the Cowboys extend Dak after next season or if he gets to free agency after the 2019 season.

    David Moore: This contract sent shock waves through the league. You have seen the deals of elite players, particularly quarterbacks, have a larger portion of their contracts guaranteed in recent years. Now, the Vikings have given Cousins a full guarantee. Not Tom Brady. Not Drew Brees. Not Aaron Rodgers. Kirk Cousins is a very good quarterback, but not one who has led his team to the Super Bowl or enjoyed much playoff success. He's the median. When the median alters the way contracts are structured at a position, many more follow. Dak Prescott will be one of the first to reap the benefits of what the Vikings did with Cousins.

    2. How nervous should the rest of the NFC East's free-agency moves make the Cowboys? Did division rivals move forward while Dallas stood still?

    Brandon George: The Cowboys have dug in with their philosophy in recent seasons of not spending big money in free agency and building their roster through the draft. So, I don't think the Cowboys get nervous watching other NFC East teams adding big-money players in free agency because it's just something they don't believe in at this time. Certainly it appears that the Cowboys' NFC East foes have helped themselves while Dallas has remained as is. The Cowboys will again try to add a few fringe pieces in free agency -- look for that to start happening next week -- but they'll primarily focus their efforts on finding potential starters in the early rounds of the draft in late April.

    Kate Hairopoulos: The freaking out by Cowboys fans in my Twitter feed is getting more and more pronounced. Things were already pretty intense, though, before free agency even officially opened Wednesday afternoon. Look, we all know how the Cowboys approach free agency. They are very open about it. That doesn't mean it's the right strategy year in, year out. Being conservative can work most of the time, but that doesn't mean it's what Dallas should be doing all the time. Plus, the Cowboys need to find some middle ground, where they're using free agency to make the team better, even if it's not on the highest-profile players and breaking the bank.

    We do know they've taken some swings, notably at receiver Sammy Watkins. Let's see where they are in a week or two before we burn the whole thing down. Watch some March Madness, maybe?

    David Moore: The addition of any quality players to a division rival should make the Cowboys anxious. Philadelphia has certainly been aggressive. New York has made some good moves as well. Washington, I'm not sure. But at this point, all have added quality players while the Cowboys haven't. They're behind. But free agency is far from over. If the Cowboys pick up a player or two there, if they draft wisely and their first- and second-year players make the projected strides, this is still a quality, young team with an upside. What has -- or in the Cowboys case, hasn't -- happened in the past week makes it seem like Dallas has lost ground, but it's exaggerated due to the short time frame.

  • #2
    I can understand our organization's logic to a point. Every year these contracts get so ridiculous that they crush your cap room.
    But without any balance in our approach we're pinning our hopes on young players and some rookies from this year's draft. If it works, fantastic! If not, it's gonna bite them square in the ass.

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    • #3
      They are ignoring deals that would be reasonable, and chasing deals that would be foolish and still whiffing. Everything about their approach is a fail.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by mschmidt64 View Post
        They are ignoring deals that would be reasonable, and chasing deals that would be foolish and still whiffing. Everything about their approach is a fail.
        What deal have they truly failed to pursue? Cowboys don't really have cap space, not without borrowing on credit.

        "Something... anything" is not an acceptable answer.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by ravidubey View Post
          What deal have they truly failed to pursue? Cowboys don't really have cap space, not without borrowing on credit.

          "Something... anything" is not an acceptable answer.
          Lack of cap space is a mirage.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by ravidubey View Post
            What deal have they truly failed to pursue? Cowboys don't really have cap space, not without borrowing on credit. "Something... anything" is not an acceptable answer.
            I know where we can get at least $8M pretty quick.
            defense wins championships

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            • #7
              Originally posted by ravidubey View Post
              What deal have they truly failed to pursue? Cowboys don't really have cap space, not without borrowing on credit.

              "Something... anything" is not an acceptable answer.
              Well the reason they aren't players in free agency is at least partially due to their yearly mismanagement of the cap.

              They overrate their own players and give them silly contracts. They continually push money into future years.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by junk View Post
                Well the reason they aren't players in free agency is at least partially due to their yearly mismanagement of the cap.

                They overrate their own players and give them silly contracts. They continually push money into future years.
                I think the only really bad contract was Crawford’s. Carr’s was the previous bad one. But I think the Williams and Smith deals make up for Crawford.

                The Dez contract was what he was due, and no one complained about it at the time. Romo’s was not a great deal but QBs have all the power in negotiations and in hindsight the team has again made up for it with Dak’s tiny contract.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by junk View Post
                  Well the reason they aren't players in free agency is at least partially due to their yearly mismanagement of the cap.

                  They overrate their own players and give them silly contracts. They continually push money into future years.
                  Speaking of which, why re-work Frederick's deal and push money to another year if it's not needed?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by mcnuttz View Post
                    Speaking of which, why re-work Frederick's deal and push money to another year if it's not needed?
                    Because we just love some Dead Money on the cap. I think their only intention this off-season is to sign Martin. I'm guessing this is about that and with having to use the tag on Lawrence they have to do this. Just my guess as I don't really know the numbers.
                    #Fire Garrett

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Rev View Post
                      Because we just love some Dead Money on the cap. I think their only intention this off-season is to sign Martin. I'm guessing this is about that and with having to use the tag on Lawrence they have to do this. Just my guess as I don't really know the numbers.
                      And I don't understand all the numbers either, but thought that they would be able to franchise Lawrence and sign Martin without freeing up anything.

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                      • #12
                        Read an article in Sporting News today about Jerry and our cap situation.
                        Just like a lot of fans, they couldn't figure out how Jerry gets in the HOF when he can't even financially manage his own team. That the Cowboys are in salary cap hell year after year. 18 mil. in dead money, and the second least amount of cap space (2 mil). Of course Romo's 6/108 contract being the biggest cause. Other teams moving forward while we have our hands tied and can't keep up.
                        I know the Jets are the "Jets" but damn, they are 72 mil (I read yesterday) under. Really?
                        When was the last time we had plenty of cap room (and used it well)?
                        Will they ever figure this out and do it right?

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                        • #13
                          Cowboys have developed a lot of young talent in the 2010’s, tying up a lot of money The last bad FA contract was Carr in 2012. The current bad contract is Crawford’s.

                          They have dead money on Romo but little money in Dak to compensate. Dallas has used up its cap space on home-grown talent. If they didn’t develop the talent in house, then you’d see free agents brought in out of need.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by ravidubey View Post
                            I think the only really bad contract was Crawford’s. Carr’s was the previous bad one. But I think the Williams and Smith deals make up for Crawford.

                            The Dez contract was what he was due, and no one complained about it at the time. Romo’s was not a great deal but QBs have all the power in negotiations and in hindsight the team has again made up for it with Dak’s tiny contract.
                            For all these great contracts, they sure are snug against the cap every year for a pretty average team.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by junk View Post
                              For all these great contracts, they sure are snug against the cap every year for a pretty average team.
                              Yep. They are average because their leadership and coaching is bad.

                              Traditionally, we can not win the big games against tough competition.

                              Since 1996 we've had 1 quality playoff win (Detroit in 2014) vs. tough competition. In our best years (2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2014, 2016) we rode easy schedules and maybe had a handful of quality wins vs tough competition (Carolina midseason 2003, New Orleans 2009, Seattle 2014, Pittsburgh 2016) and even those required superhuman performances from Demarcus Ware, Tony Romo and Zeke Elliott.

                              In all that time, our best shot at the Superbowl might have been the fumbled snap in Seattle.

                              Granted all teams ride easy schedules and yes, talented players win football games.

                              But fuck it would be nice if coaching gave them a hand once in a while.

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