Free Agency: Where Do the Dallas Cowboys Go from Here?

Brad Gagnon NFL National ColumnistMarch 18, 2013

CHARLOTTE, NC - OCTOBER 21:  Jerry Jones of the Dallas Cowboys during their game at Bank of America Stadium on October 21, 2012 in Charlotte, North Carolina.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

The question in the title of this blog post is a strange and difficult one because the Dallas Cowboys haven't gone anywhere yet. We're asking where they go next, but the car's still parked in the garage.

Free agency hasn't been the team's friend this year because the club simply doesn't have any spare change to spend on shiny new players. A $5 million cap sanction from the league is factoring in there, as well as big cap numbers belonging to Tony Romo and Anthony Spencer.

Right now, the Cowboys are one of three teams that have not signed a single free agent since the new league year got underway at 4 p.m. ET on Tuesday. But it's as though they haven't even shown up to the dance. Our free-agency tracker for Dallas has just a single rumor regarding a potential Cowboys signing, and that's nearly a week old. The Washington Redskins are just as strapped for cap cash, and yet we have 13 notes in their rumor section.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing. You always want to have the option to spend, of course, but maybe being handcuffed will prevent the Cowboys from doing some things that could cause more harm than good. There are a lot of football sirens on the open market, and this Dallas team isn't being lured in. 

The Cowboys don't need to make significant changes anyway. This is a stacked roster in terms of individual talent. They need to draft well (don't we all), and they need to plug some holes, but that's it. They have their franchise quarterback, two top-tier pass-rushers, two stellar run-defending linebackers, two talented cornerbacks, a stalwart left tackle and a potential stud at running back. 

What are they missing? A starting free safety, a "Sam" linebacker, and maybe a right tackle and right guard. There's a chance they address all or most of those needs in the draft, and they might even find solutions on the current roster. But in case they decide to show up on the free-agent market and make a second-wave signing or two, there are some options. Here are some of them...


Safeties: Kerry Rhodes (Cardinals), Quintin Mikell (Rams), Michael Huff (Raiders)

They're still paying Gerald Sensabaugh not to play, so they'll only sign someone who comes super cheap but also has a chance to start. All three of these guys are over 30 and were cut, so they could be affordable if the market never emerges for them.


Linebackers: Daryl Smith (Jaguars), Brad Jones (Packers), Justin Durant (Lions), Michael Boley (Giants)

Letting go of Dan Connor probably indicates they feel strongly that someone on the roster can step in and join Sean Lee and Bruce Carter in the starting lineup. They might only draft some depth late and take a chance here, but if they change their minds, all four of those veterans could start and succeed. 


Right tackles: Ryan Harris (Texans), Sean Locklear (Giants)

Harris is a really underrated option. He's got starting experience from Denver and was the swing tackle on the best line in football last year. The Cowboys seem to want to give Doug Free another shot, but I think Harris could beat him out for the starting job. Sebastian Vollmer, Andre Smith and Eric Winston are still sitting around, but I don't believe they're in Dallas' price range.