Splashy offseason moves may have been part of the game plan for the Cowboys in the past, but they aren’t one of the teams driving this year’s free agent market.
They signed defensive lineman Christian Covington to a one-year deal, but have otherwise stayed away from players from other clubs over the last week. That’s expected to be the case as the team looks for ways to sign defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence, quarterback Dak Prescott, wide receiver Amari Cooper, running back Ezekiel Elliott, linebacker Jaylon Smith and others in the near future.
Executive vice president Stephen Jones said that you couldn’t ask for a “better problem” than having a lot of players you want to re-sign, but it is a problem to get all those deals done and it is one that the team knows it is going to have to address in the near future.
“Where it starts to be a logjam is, when you look, we’ve never paid our linebackers a lot of money, and we’ve got two, I think, rare ones in Jaylon and Leighton [Vander Esch],” Jones said, via Albert Breer of SI.com. “That’ll be where the logjam starts — when you figure out how to pay the pass rusher, the corners, the receiver, the quarterback, the running back, across the board on the offensive line, and then try to pay a couple linebackers. That’s when you start to have to get super creative. And if you go out and do a deal right now that’s not efficient, you’re starting to take some creative money away that hopefully is going to help you keep Jaylon, hopefully help you keep both corners. We’ll just have to see.”
Lawrence got a second franchise tag this month and signing him to a longer deal might be the most urgent matter for the Cowboys, but it certainly isn’t the only one on a crowded radar.