Should Cowboys Mob Lynch?

It came across the crawl at the bottom of whichever network you happened to be watching Wednesday night, quietly enough that it slipped by most viewers unnoticed.

"Denver Broncos and safety John Lynch reach ‘mutual agreement' that he won't play in Denver this season."

Mutual agreement? In today's sports world, there's no such thing. Either the team decided he'd lost a step – or too many steps – and didn't fit into the plans to rebuild, or he had decided that the team had "lost a step" (many preseason power rankings have Denver in the unfamiliarly low mid-20s) and he wanted out, in the hopes of landing another ring with a team able to let him make a run for the Super Bowl.

Initially, there was some bland agent-speak statement about how Lynch "hadn't decided" if he'd retire or look for another team. But subsequent reports had him claiming to be "done with the Broncos" … a statement which is decidedly different from saying he was "done with football." There obviously is some bitterness there on Lynch's part.

Because of that statement alone, he clearly wants to continue playing. So the question becomes: where?

Much of the decision will be financial. If a handful of teams offer him a deal at the veterans' minimum, and then one team comes through with a multi-million-dollar offer, it's not hard to figure out which team he'd choose.

The Cowboys have a little wiggle room under the salary cap, but not the most. They could offer Lynch a deal, although not the most lucrative deal out there. The question is: should they?

Normally, the answer would be an emphatic "no!" Lynch is going to be 37 years old in September, but he played in every game last year in Denver. He's not a speedy safety, but he never really was. His game is based on violent hitting – which he still does, quite willingly – and using his smarts to be in the right place at the right time to make plays. For a guy who has been labeled "too slow" ever since he got into the league more than a decade-and-a-half ago, he has made an awful lot of plays. A guy doesn't pile up 490 career tackles and 26 interceptions by mistake.

But this year just might be the year to at least put the feelers out there on him. He's close with Detroit head coach Rod Marinelli, and the Lions were one of the first teams many assumed would grab Lynch's attention, but that speculation has been squashed.

Lynch has a sterling reputation: as a player, a student of the game, a teammate. Is that enough to balance out his age and what is perceived to be his rapid approach toward the finish line of his career?

Dallas has to win, and win now. No, the Cowboys probably aren't the most talented team in the league, at least not as long as Tom Brady and Randy Moss are in New England, but they're close. The Cowboys had 13 Pro Bowlers last season, and lost none of them in the offseason. The roster is loaded, and despite Jerry Jones' claims when the team arrived in Oxnard for training camp that a Super Bowl (appearance, at least) isn't required to save Wade Phillips' job, does anyone really believe that? Jason Garrett is not being paid $3 million per year to wait in the wings on a team that isn't in mid-dynasty form. If the team starts collecting more Lombardi Trophies, Garrett can "learn" a little longer. If not – it's his team.

So this is a year in which the Cowboys really should go for it all. There might never be a greater collection of talent in Valley Ranch. More players will need to be signed to big-bucks contracts, and once Jones backs the Brinks truck up in front of DeMarcus Ware's house, how much will be left?

The baseball trading deadline came and went Thursday, making this topic even more timely, albeit in something of an odd parallel. Every year, the baseball teams that are deemed "buyers" go crazy, surrendering elite prospects for players they feel can put them over the hump to win a World Series. Milwaukee hasn't won a league pennant in 26 years (and that was an American League pennant), and when they got past the halfway point of the season with a real chance, they went out and got veterans like C.C. Sabathia and Ray Durham. When a team has a chance to make a run at its sport's biggest prize, it has to take that chance.

In the Cowboys' case, it doesn't involve surrendering anything other than money, and with the new stadium on the horizon, Dallas will have more revenue streams than any team in the NFL. Some contracts might have to be altered to make Lynch fit under the cap, but it could be done.

The reason to add Lynch is simple – he can still play. He'd have to be rotated every now and then, much like Zach Thomas, but Thomas wasn't brought in with an eye on the future, either. Jones always has been a "win now" kind of owner, and now is, well … now.

Lynch remains a force against the run, and despite his lack of sprinter's speed, he doesn't seem to get caught out of position very often. He might get beaten deep once in a while – all defensive backs do once in a while – but it's not often. He's a smart player who can cover and can hit. Put him deep with Ken Hamlin, and the back end of the pass defense gets better. Finances might even dictate that the Cowboys don't want to pay big bucks to three safeties, which would mean that Roy Williams gets shipped out or Lynch doesn't sign.

But if he can be signed, it wouldn't be a bad idea. It's not very likely, but it's not crazy. He's not an every-down safety anymore, but he's a valuable asset when he's on the field, and if Dallas is going to make an all-out run for the Super Bowl, Lynch is worth consideration.

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