The Dallas Cowboys went into this offseason with very little options to improve their team because they were over the salary cap. The task was difficult because they needed to get better and shed payroll at the same time. To make things even harder, the Cowboys were missing $5 million because of the league’s penalty over contracts during the uncapped year.
Despite being up against all that, the Cowboys had a very good offseason. Dallas released players who were no longer in their long term plans, reduced the salary on a number of players to get cap relief, re-signed Tony Romo and signed good players at positions of need. The Cowboys have been smart with their money this offseason and that includes resisting the temptation to sign Anthony Spencer to a long term deal. Spencer, the Cowboys best defender last season, is a very good player but he will be turning 30 after the 2013 season and the Cowboys have a core of younger, more important players re-sign in the next year or two.
Looking at the players the Cowboys released and none of them will be missed. Marcus Spears has always been a solid role player and a good locker room guy but he didn’t bring anything Dallas can’t replace. The same can be said for Kenyon Coleman, Gerald Sensabaugh and Dan Connor. In fact, the return of Barry Church, along with the maturation of Alex Albright and Tyrone Crawford, gives the Cowboys an upgrade at each of those positions.
Dallas also managed to find a really good strong side linebacker to fit the Tampa 2 scheme, which was a major need. Justin Durant is one of the better run stopping 4-3 linebackers in the league and the Cowboys needed someone with experience in their new defensive alignment.
The Cowboys also got the veteran presence they needed at safety in Will Allen. The nine-year veteran has experience playing under new defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and brings a leadership role to the Cowboys secondary.
Lastly, Dallas beefed up their defensive line by signing Anthony Hargrove. Hargrove is a productive player who still has some gas left in the tank and will bring some depth to the Cowboys defensive line, which the team needed.
Put it all together and the Cowboys had a very productive offseason. Not everything went right though, since they failed to sign any of the free agent tackles on the free market but they did what they could manage on limited funds. However, the offseason isn’t over yet and Cowboys could still sign a free agent tackle. Among others, Eric Winston is still available and the Cowboys would be wise to keep their options open.
Dallas didn’t sign any big name free agents this offseason like they did last year at this time but they managed to have a good offseason. Cowboys fans should be happy with what their team accomplished with limited resources and the hopefully it will transition into success on the field.