The Dallas Cowboys drafting habits have been heavily criticized in the past few years and maybe they brought that on themselves after the way the 2008 and 2009 drafts panned out. However, as we head into 2013 there are a number of players who the Cowboys will likely think about signing to a second contract, a sign of a team heading in the right direction.
There is a significant meaning behind receiving a second contract from a team; it means you are building through the draft and not paying too much for free agents. The Cowboys have gotten themselves into salary cap trouble by overpaying for players in free agency, even when they prove to be worth it. Brandon Carr was needed last offseason and even though the Cowboys overpaid for him, the $50 million price was in line with what other top free agent cornerbacks were getting, so the Cowboys were stuck and had to overpay for a player they really needed.
The danger is in paying a player too much and not having them perform up to their standards and losing the salary cap space. Players like Ken Hamlin come to mind here, even though he originally signed a one-year deal. Hamlin parlayed that into a big money contract with the Cowboys, for which he failed to live up to expectations.
Signing free agents kills your cap space and the best organizations around the NFL build through the draft. That’s why it’s so important to draft good players and extend their contracts instead of going into the unknown element of free agency and overpaying. From those awful drafts of ’08 and ’09, there has only been one player to get a second contract from the Cowboys, cornerback Orlando Scandrick, and that is why the team has lacked depth for the past two seasons.
Looking at the past three drafts prior to 2013 and we can see the Cowboys have plenty of players who are likely to earn second contracts with the team. From the 2010 draft class Dez Bryant and Sean Lee are likely to receive extensions, and Sean Lissemore has already received one. Also from 2010, the Cowboys have already extended undrafted Barry Church to a new contract.
From the 2011 draft, it’s very possible the Cowboys will extend second contract offers to Tyron Smith, Bruce Carter and possibly Dwayne Harris in the next year or two. The wild card is DeMarco Murray because of his health issues and the position he plays doesn’t seem to hold as much value anymore. Despite all that, Murray’s talent suggests he could get a second contract as well.
We can even begin to look into last year’s draft class and guess that at least three players will warrant a second contract from the Cowboys. Morris Claiborne looks like he’s ready to take the next step this season, as does Tyrone Crawford, and if the hype over safety Matt Johnson is real, perhaps he’s another player they would look into down the road as well. We can also throw James Hanna into the mix and depending on what we see from Kyle Wilber this season he may have a chance at a second contract as well, especially since the Cowboys don’t look like they are going to lock up Anthony Spencer long term.
Add up all the players from the past three drafts and up to 13 players might get a second contract from the Dallas Cowboys. Obviously they won’t be able to re-sign them all but the point is the Cowboys are selecting the right players. The Cowboys are heading in the right direction by blending in their solid drafts in with their veteran stars and building a team that will last.
The Dallas Cowboys will soon be signing the young core of their team to second contracts and that’s why the future looks bright in Big D.