After weeks of rumors and speculation, the NFL free agency period is almost here. Beginning Tuesday afternoon, teams can officially offer contracts and players can sign on the dotted line. What teams accomplish in free agency will set them up for the draft. What can Dallas Cowboys fans expect from their team in free agency?
Some wondered how Dallas was even going to get under the salary cap, but Jerry Jones was able to restructure contracts to get under the cap. Fans may not like the “I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today” attitude of Jerry, but it is the bed he has made so he will have to lie in it for the foreseeable future.
The Cowboys currently have a couple of million dollars to spend in free agency, and they could still decide to release Miles Austin and/or DeMarcus Ware to increase the amount they could spend on free agents. While we do not know how much Dallas will have to spend, we do know they will have to spend wisely.
Dallas’ main focus will likely be on the defensive side of the ball, and Rod Marinelli will play a huge role in deciding how to proceed. Marinelli was named defensive coordinator and given the unenviable task of turning around one of the worst defensive units in NFL history. I believe he could look to his past to help him in the present.
When Marinelli was with the Chicago Bears, he coordinated one of the best defenses in the NFL. Henry Melton, Charles Tillman and Major Wright all played big roles for Marinelli in Chicago, and all three players just happen to be free agents. Marinelli had a great relationship with his players in Chicago which could give Dallas an inside track at signing those guys.
The Dallas defense has a number of holes that must be filled in free agency and the draft, and I believe that Marinelli will have a lot of say in which defensive players Dallas signs and drafts. Marinelli has a tough job, but if he convinces a few of his former players to come to Dallas, it could make his job a little easier.