The Dallas Cowboys were noticeably and seemingly predictably quiet during the first week of NFL free agency.
While it has been their practice of the last few years, preferring to do their shopping during the second wave of free agency because of the high-ticket prices for players at the outset, it wasn’t for a lack of interest.
Per sources, the Cowboys came hard and close to landing receiver Sammy Watkins. His decision to choose the Kansas City Chiefs for roughly $16 million annually had more to do with “fit” than money, a source said.
The Cowboys also had a conversation with the Seattle Seahawks about a trade for Pro Bowl safety Earl Thomas.
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Per a source, the Seahawks' asking price of reportedly, first and third-round draft picks, was “too high” for the Cowboys.
The moves didn’t happen. But the notion that the Cowboys have no interest in going after franchise-altering pieces is false.
The potential addition of Watkins certainly would have meant the departure of wide receiver Dez Bryant.
And Thomas would have given the Cowboys a proven difference maker in the back end of the defense to go with defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence and linebacker Sean Lee in the front seven.
Of course, trying and failing is of no comfort, either.
And it doesn’t help that the Cowboys have seen a steady stream of free agents walk out the door, including linebacker Anthony Hitchens (Kansas City Chiefs), fullback Keith Smith (Oakland Raiders), linebacker Kyle Wilber (Oakland Raiders).
They also released veteran cornerback Orlando Scandrick, who is visiting the Washington Redskins today.
This is not how the Cowboys envisioned the start of free agency, which they entered with three main focuses.
They wanted to secure Lawrence with a contract extension or the franchise tag. They did the latter.
They wanted to resolve Bryant’s situation with either release or a reduction of his $12.5 base salary for 2017.
It remains at status quo.
And they hoped to sign guard Zack Martin to a long-term contract extension and reduce his reduce his $9 million cap figure.
The two sides remain at an impasse.
But the Cowboys are getting back into the game in free agency as the second phase begins this week.
They have visits scheduled Monday and Tuesday with tackle Cameron Fleming, tackle LaAdrian Waddle, guard/center Marcus Martin and wide receivers Justin Hunter and Dontrelle Inman.
And that should be just the beginning as the Cowboys have new needs at linebacker and fullback to go along with known holes at safety and guard following the losses of Hitchens and Smith in free agency last week.
But the Cowboys are back in the game.
Better late than never but it’s like the Cowboys didn’t try.