The Dallas Cowboys, like all teams in the NFL, have their share of holes—but there's fewer than some seem to think. Between every hole should be something solid that represents some degree of strength or confidence. Perhaps foundation is the right word.
Dallas definitely has some foundation going on, but keeping it in place will soon be a financial challenge for a team that presently sits right beneath the salary cap.
After the mega-extension for quarterback Tony Romo earlier this offseason, it's been easy to forget that the Cowboys will have other future financial obligations very soon. Now, soon doesn't exactly mean this summer, this year or even next.
However, the clock is ticking.
As starting right tackle Doug Free has agreed to drastically reduce his previously scheduled $7 million salary for 2013, Dallas may have taken the first step towards planning for its financial future.
It's been learned that spending heavily in free agency generally doesn't translate into championship contention. The Cowboys learned this last year, especially with the signing of free-agent offensive guards Mackenzy Bernadeau and Nate Livings. Furthermore, the signing of cornerback Brandon Carr did next to nothing to differentiate the Cowboys from last season and the one before.
Yes, it's best to build through the draft and also to focus on guys who have been playing on your team for a few years. This philosophy hasn't generally been employed very well by the Cowboys despite having tried to lock up some of their own players long-term in recent years.
Free is a perfect example. His 2011 contract extension was the right idea, but he was simply the wrong player. I would suggest that wide receiver Miles Austin is another example of a player that showed ability, but certainly not long enough to rake in a guaranteed $18 million back in 2010.
But here's four players that will be in position to break the bank known as owner and general manager Jerry Jones not too far down the road. These players are ranked in the order of how quickly they'll be considered for lucrative extensions.
All contract data courtesy of Spotrac.com.