“I don’t think you ever win the Super Bowl in the offseason.”
So said Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones on Tuesday, speaking on Dallas radio station 105.3 The Fan. That’s stating the obvious. But a team can certainly take themselves right out of the running with the wrong spring and summer roster moves, making a couple of bad draft picks, or by simply doing nothing during free agency.
“You need depth in all areas, whether it’s via the draft or free agency,” Jones said. “You hope you get that accomplished.”
To that end, the team’s chief operating officer maintains that they’re “not done yet” in free agency, though the current list of veterans still on the open market would indicate that they’re quickly running out of time… and players to choose from.
That's like saying you're not done yet when the pizza buffet closes in fives minutes.
— Mark Lane (@therealmarklane) April 19, 2022
After starting off drastically over the cap figure, the Dallas front office made some strategic cuts and restructured a few deals. Ultimately, they found themselves plenty of cap space to work with, but have thus far chosen not to add more than wideout James Washington, defensive end Dante Fowler, and running back Ryan Nall.
None is what would would be referred to in modern parlance as “a splash play.”
Jones says the approach isn’t about the money, though, and he claims the team is more than willing to spend top dollar on the right players.
“If we see the player that makes the difference in terms of whether we’re going to win or lose games,” Jones said, “then we’re all in on stretching it, in terms of the salary cap and making something work.”
Jones acknowledged the frustrations that some (most) fans may be feeling at a Cowboys offseason that has seen the roster’s overall talent level take a dip, but he suggested that, despite the wildest free agency period many can remember, there were just few veteran options that made sense for the team this year.
With every big name that comes available, Jones says it’s about more than just looking at a player’s stats and throwing out an attractive contract offer.
“We have to make the decision- in collaboration with our coaching staff, in collaboration with our personnel staff- is that good value for your cap dollars? And what that enables you to do, if the right situation comes to you, then you can certainly make that decision. I understand completely that there’s situations out there where our fans have thoughts as to where they would be spending the cap dollars, but I like the situation that we’re in. I think we’ve made some really good decisions. I like where we’re headed.”
Where the Cowboys are headed now is into the draft, with nine selections currently but a seemingly much larger number of thin spots and outright holes on the roster.
Some of those spots and holes could have been filled in free agency, in moves that would not have won the Cowboys a Super Bowl… but they might have made it feel like a more attainable goal.