The Dallas Cowboys haven't signed a marquee player yet, but in the early stages of free agency, they have been anything but boring. While football fans everywhere watched (whether they wanted to or not) the "where will Peyton Manning go?" saga, the Cowboys have quietly added seven veteran free agents — some of whom are expected to play significant roles right away.
Fans often look at free agent signings like they do a fantasy football draft, often preferring the splashy acquisition of a big-name player. But that doesn't always equate to on-field success, as smart teams have to balance roster needs with the quality of available players, the cost and length of the contracts required to sign them (numbers affected, of course, by the number of other teams pursuing each player) and how much room each team is available under the salary cap.
With those criteria in mind, how have the Cowboys done during the initial stages of free agency?
Cornerback Brandon Carr was lured from the Kansas City Chiefs with a five-year deal worth about $50 million. The decline last year of Terence Newman made cornerback probably the top position of need for the Cowboys, and Carr clearly was the player they had targeted above all others.
Grade: A- The only thing keeping this grade from being a true "A" is the amount owner Jerry Jones paid to get him. Carr was identified as the team's top free-agent prize, and Jones spared no expense getting him.
He and head coach Jason Garrett were two parts of a Dallas contingent that flew to Kansas City to woo Carr, before bringing Carr back to Texas on what amounted to a recruiting trip, showing off the team's Valley Ranch facility and a tour of Cowboys Stadium … where Carr saw himself on the enormous video board.
The dollars involved would have been justified had Carr been the target of a multi-team bidding war, but if the reports that Dallas was the only team bidding, then Jones may have reverted back to the days when he seemingly threw a blank check at every available free agent.
Big bucks or not, Carr is very good in coverage and a punishing hitter who fills a glaring need.
Grading The New Cowboys: Brandon Carr
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