The Dallas Cowboys didn’t do themselves any favors by firing defensive coordinator Rob Ryan, which has now delayed the attention to free agent linebacker Anthony Spencer, who is yet again the primary suspect to receive the team’s franchise tag. Firing Ryan was a moronic move to begin with, but it could cost the Cowboys several things, including: a guy like Spencer, a top candidate to replace Ryan and other free agents on the team’s current roster.
Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones doesn’t think before he makes brash decisions, which typically has a negative domino effect on the team and this move will be no different. There are a only a select few coaches who will even consider working in Dallas because of Jones’ overbearing and meddling ways as a clueless owner/general manager combo. Add in the fact the team could be without the player it voted as its 2012 Defensive MVP and that list of candidates could divide yet again.
If the defensive coordinator Jerry wants the most will still come to Dallas, then good for him but that probably doesn’t foreshadow success for the Cowboys’ defense. Even worse, it also probably means that other key free agents won’t be addressed until it’s too late, which is a perfecte example of something that typically never crosses the mind of a guy like Jones.
The following players are the most important on a long list of the Cowboys’ current free agents:
Butler is a guy who the Cowboys absolutely must bring back. He’s arguably the most efficient player on the team and he’ll be a Pro Bowler in his first year for another team if he’s allowed to leave.
Jenkins is a tossup depending on what day it is, but the Cowboys could do a lot worse at their No. 4 cornerback position, so if he can be brought back for a decent price, Dallas should pull the trigger.
Felix isn’t the starter anymore, but he’s an excellent complement to DeMarco Murray when utilized correctly, which could be a more frequent occurrence if the Cowboys bring in a real offensive coordinator.
McCray stepped in for the injured Barry Church and played extremely well at strong safety this year. You can’t find good depth these days in the secondary, so letting a guy like McCray walk would be another haunting decision by Dallas (see Butler above).
Phillips is yet another player who will be a superstar if allowed to leave. Stick him on any team without a Pro Bowl tight end and he’ll turn into just that overnight. Guaranteed.
Sims was a diamond in the rough find by the Cowboys (weird to say, I know) this year when both Bruce Carter and Sean Lee went down with injuries. He played lights out while filling in for those future All-Pros and he’d be the best backup linebacker in the NFL if brought back.
Of course, the most important signing is Spencer, who finally played like a former first-round draft pick in his sixth NFL season. The Cowboys can’t afford to franchise tag him again because it would cost them $10.6 million in 2013, which would put them over the cap (another bad situation created by Jerry). So what to do? Well, there’s one more problem.
The Cowboys should have switched to the 4-3 defense two years ago when it was made clear they have absolutely no talent at defensive end in the 3-4. However, that was before Spencer became a star. Now that he is a vital part of the team, there’s no reason why Dallas should switch to the 4-3, but that’s exactly what Cowboys ignorant head coach Jason Garrett is considering. If that switch actually happens, then Spencer won’t fit with the team anymore because he’s a 3-4 outside linebacker and it’s highly unlikely he could play that position or defensive end in a 4-3.
Do you see why Cowboys fans are frustrated all the time? The team never does anything right when opportunities present themselves.
What the Cowboys should do and what they actually do are often two different things, but Dallas should re-sign Spencer to a new five-year deal, stick with the 3-4, allow youngsters like Sean Lissemore and Tyrone Crawford to play more at defensive end and beg Ryan to come back. Ok, that last one won’t happen, but the other three are absolute musts to build off the rare defensive success the Cowboys experienced in 2012. However, don’t hold your breath waiting on these things to happen. Remember: This is the Cowboys. Since when do they get anything right?