It's not over. The offseason spree. The revitalization. The bellows of Super Bowl bluster.
There's still a chance, still moves to be made. Dallas can recover.
Listen: Losing Nnamdi Asomugha stung. And that it was a division rival buzzing in the hedges, surfacing and offering $60 million that no one thought Asomugha would be accepting, burned that much more.
The 'Boys posted $40 million plus intangibles—a Rob Ryan reunion and Dallas deliverance—that New York couldn't match, and thought it enough.
Still, logic assured that something else was coming. We wrote the sideline block party off as coincidence, figuring Jerry Jones and Ryan had bantered their way to landing Cullen Jenkins or Barrett Ruud or something splashy.
Ryan called it a toast, for landing Marcus Spears and pursuing Kenyon Coleman.
Doubtful. More plausible are the murmurs that death knelled for Terrance Newman, unwittingly about to be plucked from camp on the spot. Newman was next to out. Asomugha was all but in.
Do you think Dallas' offseason signing period is salvageable?
Until neither weren't. Until Dallas was beat out.
Simple as that.
There's no solace for that. Once pipe dream became possible, it couldn't go back. Once affordable, it wouldn't be remembered as out of the budget.
Once it became whatever it was, that something it stayed.
But there's no use in pouting. We lost. They won.
This was zero-sum, and Philadelphia's secondary and front office earned credibility, at our expense.
There are still games to be played and not those after Sept. 11. Granted they're tougher and unglamorous and at least for now, less empowering. But there are still moves Dallas can make.
Dallas can still cork the holes in its secondary and receiver corps. The pickens are slim, but that's why Jones employs personnel departments.
To scrounge for talent. To dig for role players. That's the two-minute drill of player valutation, and this is the Super Bowl.
Still, they have to try.
What's the alternative? Whimpering? Mailing it in, with cowardice stamped as postage?
That's laughable. Despite its flaws, and the seeming dearth of fixes, Dallas are far from pushovers. They've got a solid core. They play a manageable schedule.
Do they start the season as prohibitive favorites? No, but maybe that's not the overtone the morning hours of the Jason Garrett era needs. Maybe the division's second-worst market to start an acting career is a place Dallas should welcome.
Whether it plays this season subtly or basks in highlight, Dallas made the right first move in passing on Cullen Jenkins. Overreacting after whiffing on Asomugha would've proved the comfort food of a deal that would've buried them.
The Red Sox dabbled in that winless game of one-upmanship after New York signed C.C. Sabathia and Mark Teixeira in 2009. Thank God we didn't go there.
Hell, we just cut our John Lackeys. Four-year and eight-figure mistakes, what a 30-year-old Jenkins' body dooms him to be, aren't affordable anymore.
That's not the prospect with signing Michael Huff. Word has the team higher on Abram Elam, given his thinner price tag. But if the money was there for Asomugha, whatever smaller fraction of that Huff commands should still be available and has to be spent.
This team should be done settling, especially since it hasn't done much already. Signing Doug Free (four years, $12 million), Kyle Kosier (three years, $9 million) Spears (five years, $19 million) and Coleman putties the lines but doesn't justify this early nothingness.
Maybe it had to be quiet. Maybe the pursuit of Nnamdi precluded flashiness, given Jones' hopes that it happened and the cap commitment if it did. If the team believed it could've landed Asomugha, throwing money elsewhere had to wait.
Those handcuffs shooed the Flyers away from bidding on Steven Stamkos. Figuring the Lightning would sit on matching the $100 million offer sheet Philadelphia flirted with slipping Tampa Bay's restricted free agent, it went another way.
Unlike Dallas—or the one we've stuck in this hypothetical bubble—it wouldn't be hamstrung by an offseason of unknowing. It had to spackle its damage and didn't have time to idly wonder.
Even if true, that explanation isn't exoneration. The team shouldn't have committed everything to one player anyway, be it Nnamdi or Jenkins or anyone that bumped them from contention for all the possibilities that wouldn't wait on them.
But if that's it, you'll take it. So long as someone else comes too.