I predict the first thing many will do will come in and argue that I love Jerry Jones, or Stephen, or that I'm just too stupid to understand and wouldn't know how to build a team or know anything about football (my favorite). For that reason, I often just keep opinions like this to myself. This board is like an echo chamber, and I'm not concerned with changing that, but I think it's important to point out for those who are open-minded enough to consider.
The worst thing that you can do in free agency is be too anxious to get any player. A team should have several things in place before they are in a legitimate position to win through free agency anyway, and that is obviously best done through the draft. First, you get your quarterback. Check. Then you get your left tackle. Check. Then you solidify your skill positions. Check, check, check.
Then . . . if you want to compete for a championship in this league, you need a formidable EDGE rusher, a talented corner and a dominate linebacker. Question marks, plural, check, check,
The third phase is special teams, so you're looking for guys every year that can fit in those roles. And I'm not going to check or question mark or draw a line through anything just yet, since I cannot project with any certainty about who will play what on STs. It's just too early. But we do have the basic pieces in place to win enough as a team to get us into the regular season. If we're good enough to get into the playoffs, then it would make sense to stack this team with as many free agents and new talent acquisitions as possible.
When looking ahead at our strategy to building a championship team, we need to have a few rules in place. First, we shouldn't overpay for anyone in free agency. Free agent signings can be risky, because we may not know all the reasons a free agent isn't being resigned by their former team, etc. We may think we do, but we often find out later why they were a free agent in the first place. Dallas has overlooked this many times in the past — to their detriment. But I think they have finally learned from it.
Let's be real here for a minute. Do we really think Jerry and Stephen don't wouldn't spend the money assemble the best roster they could if all it took was money? We know they would. We have said in the past that they just don't know how to win, especially after they break the bank to sign a free agent.
Free agent signings have been some of Dallas' worst moves in the past.
Have they finally learned from it?
How does a team not overpay for a player?
They exercise patience.
The more patient we are, the less anxious we appear, the less urgent about it we act, the less likely we are to get into bidding wars with teams and agents over players.
What's the best way to get off on the right foot when you negotiate for players?
Establish a history.
If you have a history of being anxious and overpaying for your players, then that's the reputation you've built for yourself. If you don't overvalue anyone too much, as a team, then that's your reputation.
So it's important to establish a reputation. You do that by writing your own history.
On the other hand, if you can build a winning team that players want to play for, then free agency can become your friend. Did players take less to play for the Patriots for a chance to win the Super Bowl?
They sure did.
Please point out that I'm comparing the Cowboys to the Patriots, because I'm not saying that. I'm using the Patriots as an example. But it's something to strive for.
Lately, finally, Jerry and Stephen are doing the right things.
They're not letting a little success from last year get them too excited to the point they overspend.They're relaxed about signing free agents. And they're cool with laying back and letting the clock tick.
Because as time goes by, the Cowboys put themselves in a more advantageous position to do what they really want to do: fill the holes we have with as much available talent, at the lowest cost.And finally, they're doing it the right way by being patient enough to evaluate their own talent, patient enough waiting for cuts, and patient enough waiting for the market to come down.
And that's exactly what they should be doing in free agency, regardless of what the fans parrot from the talking heads. If getting the best players at the best price is the goal, the only thing for them to do is be patient about it.The trick here is balancing out their patience so that it works best for the team overall, in the end.
Not getting too anxious to overpay for one player, but being patient enough to make several key signings has proven to be the key to success in the NFL.
That, and keeping enough cap space open to sign your current core players in the future.
We've got our core players.
So right now, the name of the game is patience, evaluation, and timing with new signings.
So far, I'd say they're doing a pretty good job. It's just difficult to tell, since free agency is not yet over. And that's the part many bellyaching fans would have you forget.
(Should say About in the title, not of)