The 2008 Cowboys were preseason favorites to not only make, but win the Super Bowl. At the moment, they're 4-3, and in third place in the competitive NFC East.
This was supposed to be the team to break the 11 year playoff drought. Now they'll be lucky to snag a wild card birth.
On paper, this team is stacked, jacked, and about 1,000 other adjectives, but paper doesn't do much on the field.
The Cowboys owner and G.M., Jerry Jones, has put ridiculous money into the 2008 team. The salaries are staggering for any team, much less one with a 4-3 record.
Over the summer, J. Jones resigned his studs to long term deals and/or extensions.
Terence Newman: Six years and $50.2 million, in which $22.5 million is guaranteed over the first three years, for an annual average of $8.367 million.
Marian Barber: Seven years and $45 million, in which $16 million is guaranteed, for an average of $6.428 million per year.
Terrell Owens was given a four year extension, including the 2008 season, at the ripe old age of 36. In 2008, he'll be dropping five and outs on his way to hauling in over $8.66 million.
In the past week, Jerry Jones pulled a sign and trade with the Detroit Lions for WR Roy Williams. Jones gave up 1st and 3rd round picks, along with a lot of money. Roy will be paid $54 million over the next six seasons.
Tony Romo, Anthony Henry, Jason Witten, the other Roy Williams, and the entire offensive line are currently or will need to be paid similar amounts in the future.
What does this all mean?
If the 2008 Cowboys don't at least make the playoffs, this team is doomed for the near future. If they can't make a push for a ring with so many talented players in their prime, they certainly will not be able to when key veterans start to decline on the wrong side of 30.
The Cowboys need a ring now, this season, or in 2009. Their well past building through the draft, and now have snagged free agents to add explosiveness. Big D's cap space is rapidly boiling away.
The time is now.
By the way, arguably the Cowboys best player, at least on defense, but probably on the whole team, DeMarcus Ware, is about to become a free agent at the end of the season. Can Jones invest even more money into this team, and stay under the cap? I'm leaning towards no.