The Cowboys took a more quiet approach to free agency this offseason, and while fans and critics took notice, Stephen Jones insists there’s a plan in place.
In a recent interview with Sports Illustrated, the team’s COO/executive vice president/director of player personnel discussed Dallas’ market philosophy and how its inactivity doesn’t mean its not a contender.
“The biggest thing is just that free agency, I just don’t think you can make a living there,” Jones said. “That’s what we’ve always said. I think you’re overpaying in free agency most of the time. [Free agents] are overvalued, because you’re competing in a market where you’ve got teams that don’t have as many players they have to spend on, have to use cap space on.
“And the other thing is, I don’t think you’re ever one player away. It’s a building process. You’ve got to have some really good quarterbacking to win championships, but you’ve got to put a good team around him. That whole theory that you’re one player away, it’s one that we don’t buy into like you might’ve in the past.”
Dallas’ decision to pass on Earl Thomas was the latest example of this reasoning, as it allowed the veteran safety to sign a one-year contract with the Ravens worth $12 million with incentives but left the Cowboys with that much extra money.
“I’ve always said it — good players get paid like they’re great, average ones get paid like they’re good, and so on,” Jones said. “Our philosophy, at the end of the day, is that if we sign a guy in free agency right now, we’re basically giving up a player on our roster at some point that we’ll want to keep, whether it’s a Jaylon Smith, it’s Chidobe [Awuzie], it’s Byron Jones.
“Obviously, we’re going to take care of these top four guys — Zeke and Dak and Amari and D-Law. And then we’ll get into the next wave of guys.”