Star: quarterback sidelined for the season with a devastating ACL tear…..

The Dallas Cowboys have been thrifty spenders this offseason. They have done their usual minuscule dabbling in outside free agents, signing Eric Kendricks, Ezekiel Elliott, and Royce Freeman. Let’s be real here, nobody is getting up from their seat for those acquisitions. You’ve heard of ROUS, rodents of unusual size. These are SONS, signings of no significance.

The lack of free agent spending on outside players is par for the course for this front office, but the unwillingness to retain some of their own guys has some a little perturbed. Several starters and key rotational players are playing somewhere else this upcoming season. Here is the list of Cowboys players who have left in free agency and their price tags.

In all, eight players have left at a total cost of nearly $100 million (should they all play out the full duration of their contracts). When you stop and think about it, that’s a lot of cap space. Sure, some of it is spread over multiple years, but $100 million is $100 million. Not paying those players does open the door to other possibilities.

As we have seen, those “other possibilities” do not include a shopping spree to acquire free agents from other teams. The Cowboys aren’t interested in that. Outside free agents are like a juicy deluxe cheeseburger. We’d love to have one and it makes us feel happy in the moment, but deep down, we know it’s not good for us. Many people will still prefer the cheeseburgers, but the Cowboys are the vegans of the NFL.

It should be stated that the Cowboys are willing to spend money. Weird narratives have gone around to the contrary and those shouldn’t be in our headspace. Jerry Jones’ lack of free agent spending isn’t because he’s cheap and wants to pocket the savings. That’s not how things work. The Cowboys use their allocated cap space. Additionally, Jerry is not using his roster funds to feed his other non-football investments giving him greater overall profits. We should be clear about this. The Cowboys spend their money and Jerry Jones wants to win. But it is fair to criticize them for how they go about it. Are they doing the things that give them the best chance to win? Many say no.

With $100 million in “savings,” the Cowboys will have more money to allocate in other places. We all know what places we’re talking about. Dak Prescott, CeeDee Lamb, and Micah Parsons. Three big-name All-Pros who will command out-of-this-world price tags.

The crazy thing about this Big 3 is that all of them were accidents. What we mean by that is none of these players were on a course to end up in Dallas, but by some Tom Cruise witchcraft, they all did. The Cowboys tried everything in their power to draft a quarterback other than Prescott in 2016, but after missing out on Paxton Lynch and Connor Cook, they settled for Dak. Nobody expected Lamb to be around when they picked in 2020 as he was never available during any of the repeated mocks the Cowboys did leading up to the draft, but lo and behold he was. Bazinga! And finally, we all know the Cowboys were cornerback hunting in 2021 when Parsons fell into their laps, but hey, who’s complaining?

So, to recap, the Cowboys got…

The highest-rated approximate value player (according to Pro Football Reference) in the 2016 NFL Draft in Prescott, the highest AV player in the 2021 NFL Draft in Parsons, and the highest non-QB AV player in the 2020 NFL Draft in Lamb. Three drafts where the Cowboys got one of, if not the best player in the entire draft, and at no point did they pick inside the top 10. Even more exhilarating is that all three steals play a premium position in the NFL. Quarterback, edge rusher, and wide receiver. Bazinga again!

The Cowboys didn’t carefully orchestrate a scenario where they’d have three star players who will soon become the highest-paid players at their respective positions, but here we are. And to keep the band playing, they must keep putting quarters in the jukebox. Replacing those players above won’t be that difficult and the team has already done a lot of that with last month’s draft, all of which was done at a fraction of the price. Moving that $100 million to help cover the costs of this new holy trinity is now what the Cowboys front office is conducting. Right, wrong, or indifferent, it’s the direction they’re now going.

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