Dallas Cowboys Criticized For ‘Nonchalant’ Free Agency

Dallas Cowboys

Getty Images The Dallas Cowboys haven't moved the needle in the early stages of NFL free agency.

Jerry Jones previously vowed to be “all-in” on the 2024 season, but so far, the Dallas Cowboys have essentially sat out the start of NFL free agency.

Sure, the Cowboys filled a need by signing veteran linebacker Eric Kendricks as a kind of a coach-on-the-field to help teammates get up to speed in new defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer’s scheme. But, Dallas missed out on even the most affordable of veteran free agent running backs and lost a key piece along the offensive line in front of quarterback Dak Prescott.

Navigating one of the worst salary cap situations in the NFL was an obvious hindrance for Jerry Jones and the Cowboys, but it’s difficult to believe Dallas has gotten better since the new league year began on March 13.

Five days into NFL free agency officially being underway, CBS Sports gives the Cowboys a “D” for their haul, so far.

“The Dallas Cowboys were the only team in the entire NFL not to sign anybody on Monday,” Garrett Podell writes for CBS. “But, they finally joined the action on Tuesday by re-signing long snapper Trent Sieg. That’s in direct opposition to owner and general manager Jerry Jones’ all-in claims at the end of the 2023 season.

“In order for the Cowboys to have the cap space to be players in free agency, they needed to do contract extensions with 2023 Second-Team All-Pro quarterback Dak Prescott and 2023 First-Team All-Pro wide receiver CeeDee Lamb in order to spread their cap hits across future seasons. This inactivity indicates the Cowboys front office doesn’t mind not being able to make many moves at the start of free agency.

“This nonchalant attitude only hurts the team and precludes them from re-signing eight-time Pro Bowl left tackle Tyron Smith, five-time Pro Bowl cornerback Stephon Gilmore and a running back to replace Pollard among other critical transactions. Kendricks was a big signing; he fills the Cowboys’ ILB issue and the fact that he chose Dallas over the 49ers is icing on the cake.”

Smith ultimately agreed to terms with the New York Jets, creating uncertainty for the Cowboys at one of the most vital positions on the roster.

How Salary Cap Impacted Cowboys’ Moves, or Lack Thereof

There is no team in the NFL with less spending flexibility than Jones and the Cowboys.

Following free agency’s first week, the Cowboys have a league-low $4.06 million in cap space. Those concerns are compounded by the fact that Dallas has only the 13th most cap space in 2025, currently projected at approximately $87.1 million.

Restructuring Prescott’s contract could free up cap space for the remainder of this offseason, but the Cowboys’ lack of urgency to reach some sort of resolution with the franchise quarterback to free up the ability to compete with some of the top free agents available to date has been striking.

Tyron Smith on Signing with the Jets

Following Tyron Smith’s departure, the Cowboys’ left tackle job seems earmarked for Tyler Smith.

After making the move to the swamps of Jersey, and the offensive line tasked with keeping Aaron Rodgers upright, Smith couldn’t hide his excitement.

“I feel like it’s going to be amazing,” Smith told Josina Anderson of CBS Sports. “Of course me being with Dallas, he’s kicked our butts twice in the playoffs—so I know what he’s capable of. Honestly, I’m just excited about the opportunity.”
Now, the task of keeping Prescott upright falls on Tyler Smith, who according to Pro Football Focus, allowed just one sack in 942 snaps last season.
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