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Why Taking Big Hits Is Very Costly

As we head into the third week of free agency the Cowboys haven’t been as active as the mad frenzy that started out with a bang. The Cowboys are taking a cautious approach towards free agency. As in other sports free agency can get you a championship but not so in the NFL. Lets see what the cowboys have done so far and how it will benefit them moving forward.

Here are the top five unrestricted free agents the Dallas Cowboys have ever signed since the start of free agency in 1994 (not counting Plan B), taking into consideration production vs. cost:

DT: Le’Roi Glover

C: Ray Donaldson

CB: Ryan McNeil

RB: Darren McFadden

LS: Jeff Robinson

Here are the worse free agency decisions the Dallas Cowboys have made but I am sure there are others that were horrific as well.

K:Mike Vanderjagt

G:Nate Livings

QB:Paul Justin

S:Will Allen

DT: Henry Melton

When listing all the Cowboys needs they had to fill, and what they’ve done so far with a relatively modest amount of cap space to re-stock a team – a 53-man roster which had 18 unrestricted free agents and two more restricted guys, in other words 46 percent of their roster potentially eligible to leave. They had a lot to do. They’ve done a lot with little.

DT: Cedric Thornton:  The Cowboys needed to get younger and better at the one-technique defensive tackle position. The former Eagles 3-4 defensive end gives them a chance, good run stuffer in the middle. Thornton is willing to take on double-teams. Don’t look at his deal as four-years, $17 million. Considering the guaranteed money, it’s one-year, $6 million or two-years, $9 million if on the roster the beginning of the 2017 league year. His cap hit for 2016 is only $2.25 million.

LB: Rolando McClain: McClain re-signed only a one-year deal, with a $3.375 million cap hit, the ability to earn a $1.375 roster bonus and $1 million more for playing 75 percent of the plays.  That is a steal considering he played only 11 games after his suspension last year.

TE: James Hanna: If they didn’t resign Hanna they wouldn’t have a viable backup with Gavin Escobar still recovering from a Achilles injury as their is no solid backup behind Jason Witten.

While Hanna signed a three-year, $8.25 million deal, with a $2.5 million signing bonus (so $833,333 per year against the cap), his first-year cap charge is just $1.75 million.

CB: Morris Claiborne: I know he was injured but he played fairly decent . He was the teams best cover man in the 11 games he played.

While Orlando Scandrick returns in 2016, he also is coming off reconstructive knee surgery. The Cowboys needed another veteran corner, and all they are paying is one year, $3 million, with only $500,000 guaranteed, a $250,000 workout bonus and he can earn $62,500 per game played, of which 11 games will be considered likely-to-be-earn, pushing his cap for the potential starting corner to all of $2.687 million.

RB: Lance Dunbar : This was a must and as we speak the Cowboys have signed Alfred Morris. That gives the cowboys three viable backs with McFadden included and who knows what they will find in the draft.

OT :Charles Brown: The Cowboys needed a backup tackle with at least one down of experience, which would be more than Chaz Green possesses but signing Brown to a one-year, $760,000 deal that counts just $600,000 against the cap with no signing bonus, his presence doesn’t preclude Green from winning the backup job in camp.

LB: Kyle Wilber: The jack of all trades this guy does it all.outside linebacker, middle linebacker, rush end and tied for special teams tackles lead in 2015. All that for a $1.5 million cap hit.

Backup quarterback position needs help, but the Cowboys didn’t want to guarantee quarterback Matt Moore the $2 million Miami did to re-sign, that way if Kellen Moore wins the backup job in camp or a drafted rookie surprisingly wins the job they wouldn’t be wasting cap space on a Matt Moore.

And just to do all this, without making a splash, and to create enough space to fund their draft-class’ cap charges for 2016, the Cowboys created nearly $12 million of more space by restructuring the 2016 base salaries of defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford and offensive lineman Tyron Smith.

Some say the Cowboys are striking out in free agency. Look, just because some free agents name is linked to the Cowboys doesn’t mean they are serious about signing these big dollar free agents. Agents have a way of creating a false market for these guys that they are interested.

No team has added a better quarterback in free agency than the Cowboys regaining the services of a healthy Tony Rome and no team has added a better wide receiver than the Cowboys regaining the services of a healthy Dez Bryant


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