Cowboys lost more in free agency than they gained; had the worst free agency period

The Cowboys must not have gotten the memo on how free agency works. The 'Boys failed to make one key signature signing of any unrestricted free agent that could be considered an improvement over what they lost.
Jerry Jones cannot be happy with how the Dallas Cowboys performed during NFL free agency. They lost a lot of talent and did not sign players to replace them.
Jerry Jones cannot be happy with how the Dallas Cowboys performed during NFL free agency. They lost a lot of talent and did not sign players to replace them. / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

The Dallas Cowboys appeared to not have participated in free agency.

For a front office that made a promise that they would be "all in" and aggressive after getting ran out of their own building after a first-round drubbing by the Green Bay Packers, the Cowboys did not have any key external signings that will make their team better in 2024. In fact, with the players that Dallas lost to other teams from their roster, the Cowboys just might not be as good as they were last season.

General Manager Stephen Jones swung and missed during free agency and left the Dallas fanbase bewildered and befuddled as they watched their own talent walk out the door and did not see their replacements come in behind them.

"Everybody certainly has that right. I know where the frustration is; it's the fact that we have not had a lot of success in the playoffs to their satisfaction. Until we do that, the criticism is certainly something that's going to be there ... but we are going to stick with what we believe will ultimately get us a championship for our fans. We don't define all-in by what you spend in free agency. It's keeping the core [together]."

Cowboys general manager Stephen Jones

However, that really did not happen as the core was not resigned to any extensions this off season and fans are wondering when Dallas is going to resign players like Dak Prescott and CeeDee Lamb who are both entering their final years of their existing contracts. One would have thought that Dallas would have resigned both of them prior to the start of free agency so that the cap hits could be spread out during the course of the contract and thus give the Cowboys more spending power in free agency.

The costs for both of those players are skyrocketing as quarterbacks and wide receivers are signing new deals for big money. Jared Goff signed a deal with Detroit averaging over $52 million per season and leads the hit parade for signal callers. Justin Jefferson of the Minnesota Vikings and Jaylen Waddle of the Miami Dolphins recently signed record-setting contracts with their respective teams. The longer the Jones Family waits to resign the two superstars, the more they will have to spend as each new contract seems to break the previous high of the last one.

In the interim, Prescott and Lamb are both sans new contracts and Dallas still lost more talent than they received at a time when teams were throwing money at players left and right. The usually financial free Jones family kept their wallets in their pockets and made no improvement via free agency by signing external free agents, or keeping their own free agents.

Dallas signed street free agent running back Ezekiel Elliot, who is past his prime and seemed to run out of gas in previous stops since being waived by Dallas last time. He is expected to take over for Tony Pollard who signed a three-year $21.75 million deal with the Tennessee Titans.

Dallas' only key external signing from free agency was linebacker Eric Kendricks who played for new defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer with the Minnesota Vikings from 2015 to 2021. They also resigned their own free agents in long snapper Trent Sieg, running back Rico Dowdle, cornerback Jourdan Lewis, and special teams ace C.J. Goodwin. They failed to make the splash in free agency that everyone was looking for.

The offensive line took a massive hit in free agency. Left tackle Tyron Smith signed a one-year $6.5 million, incentive-laden contract with the New York Jets that could escalate to $13.5 million based upon play time incentives. Fellow lineman, center Tyler Biadasz signed a four-year $29.25 million with division rival Washington Commanders.

The Cowboys also lost four defensive linemen to free agency including Dante Fowler, who followed Biadasz to Washington on a one-year $3.25 million contract. Dallas also lost Dorrance Armstrong to Washington who signed for $33 million over three seasons. Washington really honed in on the Dallas defensive front and signed them to lucrative deals to make sure that first-round draft choice and former Heisman Trophy Award Winner Jayden Daniels will not face have to face them twice a year.

Dallas also saw their top two players in the secondary remain on the market, and failed to resign them. Five-time Pro Bowl cornerback Stephon Gilmore and safety Jayron Kearse are still unsigned and will perhaps sign with a team during training camp.