2012 Free Agency: Why the Dallas Cowboys Will Be Winners in NFL Free Agency
NFL Free Agency begins today at 4 PM EST. There have been reports speculating who the Cowboys top priority is and which players the Cowboys will attempt to sign. What players Jerry Jones has interest in and what players have interest in the Cowboys remains to be seen.
On Monday the Cowboys received news that they will lose ten million dollars of cap space over the next two seasons for front-loading contracts during the 2010 season. This news is alarming for the Cowboys but there is no reason to believe Jerry Jones did not know it was coming.
The Cowboys have already started their offseason by placing their franchise tag on Anthony Spencer and restructuring Miles Austin’s contract. The next phase in rebuilding the Cowboys into a contender begins today. The Cowboys need a strong free agent class to ensure they will not continue their two year absence from the NFL playoffs.
5. Jason Garrett
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Jason Garrett is a smart football coach. He has been on championship winning teams in the NFL. He has been around champions. He knows what champion teams look like and what the Cowboys need to be champions. This is why he cleaned out a lot of dead weight on the Cowboys last year.
Garrett knew his offensive line needed to be younger. He knew Marion Barber II and Roy E. Williams had nothing left to contribute to the Cowboys. Garrett began the process of rebuilding the Cowboys franchise in 2011. In 2012 Garrett will continue that process by signing the right players.
The Cowboys are going to focus on players who will help their team sustain a winning attitude for years to come during this free agency period. Garrett will bring in the right players. He knows this team better than anyone else and he has more power in their personnel decisions than many people believe.
4. Cap Room
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The Dallas Cowboys lost ten million dollars in cap space on Monday. I find it hard to believe Jerry Jones did not know this was coming with how involved he is in the NFL and how involved he was in creating the new collective bargaining agreement.
The Cowboys can split the lost however they want over the next two season which already gives them flexibility with their cap space. The Cowboys can also restructure more contracts, like they already did with Miles Austin, to give them more cap space. Anthony Spencer can also sign a deal to lower his cap number for the 2012 season.
I do not believe Monday’s events will damage the Cowboys’ efforts in free agency at all. They still will find ways to sign the free agents they want while staying under the cap.
3. Laurent Robinson
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Laurent Robinson was the most consistent receiver on the Cowboys in 2011. Robinson understands how valuable he is to the Cowboys and the Cowboys understand that too. Robinson should also know that his valuable is directly linked to Tony Romo.
Robinson did not magically become more talented after being released by the Chargers in the preseason. Robinson found his niche in Jason Garrett’s offense and made himself into a solid NFL contributor. There is no way Robinson believes he can go anywhere and repeat his performance in 2012.
Robinson will take a little discount to stay with the Cowboys and continue to be a solid football contributor. He may not make as much money in 2012 but it is the right move for his career. The Cowboys need him back as insurance for Dez Bryant and Miles Austin and the Cowboys will make sure he returns.
2. Brandon Carr or Cortland Finnegan
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The Cowboys are desperate for help in the secondary. Terence Newman struggled in 2011 especially at the end of the season – making him a likely offseason release. This leaves just Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick on their roster.
There are plenty of available cornerbacks on the market but the top two have been already been linked to the Cowboys offseason plans. Both Brandon Carr and Cortland Finnegan were passed over by their teams when the franchise tags were announced last week. Now both players are going to test the free agent market and likely take their talents elsewhere.
My money is on the Cowboys signing Carr because he is younger and has more height to cover the tall athletic receivers they face. Either player would give the Cowboys a starting corner opposite of Mike Jenkins and will immediately improve their secondary. The Cowboys need one of these players and it would be surprising if one of them was not on the Cowboys in 2012.
1. Jerry Jones
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Jerry Jones is the key to the Cowboys offseason. He signs the checks and he is always willing to sign big ones. Jones always has critics about how involved he is in the Cowboys’ personnel decisions. Some of that criticism is deserved but Cowboys fans should be happy that their owner is always willing to spend money.
Jones wants to win a championship. There is nothing Jones will not do to bring a championship back to Dallas. The Cowboys should be happy he is their owner.
Jones will be looking to add a lot of talent to the Cowboys this offseason. Jones will find as much cap space as possible on the Cowboys so they can sign all the free agents Garrett desires. Jones is the biggest reason why the Cowboys will be winners in free agency because he is willing to spend the money needed to sign key players for the Cowboys to make a Super Bowl run in 2012.