Dallas Cowboys

With Cowboys slow out the gate again in free agency, are they really desperate to win?

And on the first day of NFL legal tampering on Monday the Dallas Cowboys and their admittedly desperate-to-win owner Jerry Jones made the splash move of signing former Los Angeles Rams tight end Cody McElroy to a futures contract.

Championship.

Some days the jokes write themselves.

The Cowboys probably could have waited to announce the signing of McElroy, a former baseball prospect for Atlanta Braves, who played no snaps for the Rams last season. Nobody would have been checking for it.

It now stands as a backdrop in Dallas to the free agent flurry that is going on around the NFL and, most notably, in NFC East, where the Washington Redskins, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Giants have already made moves to improve their teams.

Meanwhile, the Cowboys, the defending NFC East champions who have not reached the Super Bowl in 23 years, got a developmental prospect in McElroy.

Championship.

That the Cowboys were going to be quiet early on is no surprise. That has been the fiscally-responsible plan for the past few off-seasons.

The big money comes off the board first and the Cowboys have no intention of setting the market in free agency. They usually shop at the bargain bin in the second wave.

Their focus in 2019 is on giving big money to their own with free agent defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence at the top of the pecking order followed by possible extensions for quarterback Dak Prescott, receiver Amari Cooper, running back Ezekiel Elliott and cornerback Byron Jones.

Any outside interest would be in free agent safety Earl Thomas of the Seattle Seahawks.

But the Cowboys have indicated they would not be suitors as long he wanted to become the league’s highest-paid safety.

Thomas is still available and indications are that he might get what he wants are the market for safeties was reset on Monday.

The Redskins shocked the NFL by signing Landon Collins away from the Giants with a six-year, $84 million deal that guarantees him $45 million. Then former Houston Texans safety Tyrann Mathieu got a three-year, $42 million agreement with the Kansas City Chiefs. Both deals average $14 million per year.

Thomas is the highest-rated safety in free agency so he should command that or more with the San Francisco 49ers, Houston Texans and Denver Broncos as the most likely destinations.

But until he has signed, there remains a glimmer of hope that the market could come back to the Cowboys.

So the wait continues while Dallas’ NFC East rivals got better.

The Redskins added Collins.

The Eagles signed defensive tackle Malik Jackson and traded for speedy receiver DeSean Jackson.

The New York Giants traded for guard Kevin Zeitler.

And the supposedly desperate Cowboys got McElroy.

Championship.

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Clarence E. Hill Jr. has covered the Dallas Cowboys as a beat writer/columnist for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram since 1997. That includes just two playoff wins, six coaches and countless controversies from the demise of the dynasty teams of the 1990s through the rollercoaster years of the Tony Romo era until Jason Garrett’s process Cowboys.
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