The one thing to remember about Cowboys in free agency

The Dallas Cowboys haven’t won anything substantial in almost three decades, and this January’s unceremonious exit from the playoffs in the wild card round only exacerbated the fanbase’s frustration. The malaise from another exit before reaching the NFC championship game, much less the Super Bowl, has lingered for weeks, and an offseason full of black eyes on the organization has only led to more infuriation.

That was written in March 2022, not this season. Wash, rinse repeat. Fast forward a season and Dallas once again didn’t make the NFC championship game and once again is entering free agency without giving the fanbase much hope as to what they will accomplish. Why? Because Dallas stays tried and true to this philosophy about team building and contracts.

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Most NFL teams give out contracts based on speculation. How will this player perform over the length of the deal? How will they fit in our system?

Dallas, however, looks at non-rookie contracts as promotions.

They have a “This player has been a model employee over the course of their contract, let’s reward them for past service,” mentality. In non-sports industries, this is a standard approach. In sports? Not so much.

This is why they don’t want to sign outside free agents for any real money, because they haven’t yet contributed to the financial success of this organization.

It’s sort of ironic how a family that built their fortune on oil speculation has become so averse to using it in football, but maybe that’s because father Jerry Jones is the speculator and son Stephen was raised in money and is more mentally tuned to trying to preserve the fortune than the risk-taking that went into building it.


When a home-grown player performs well through his rookie contract, represents the organization properly, they are rewarded by a big deal. If the player’s performance in later years doesn’t live up to the terms of the deal, so be it. That means that they won’t earn another contract or will be released out of their current contract, cap hit be damned.

External free agents may have earned their impending big contracts in the league, but they didn’t earn it for this organization. They will not be rewarded for that in Dallas, at least not easily.

This is the Cowboys’ free agent philosophy in a nutshell. Long-term personal impressions are a major factor in their evaluating what they would pay for any free agent and without that information it is incredibly difficult for them to justify to themselves signing outsiders for big money.

Story originally appeared on Cowboys Wire