The Dallas Cowboys have had quite the offseason. With several positional holes to fill, Dallas fans were hoping the front office would make some external, big-name signings. Some names tied to the team were Tyrann Mathieu, Von Miller, Bobby Wagner, and Za’Darius Smith. Smith initially agreed to a four-year, $35 million deal with the Baltimore Ravens, but he ended up backing out the next day. Cowboys fans were hesitant to get their hopes once again, but Smith was still available for five days.
On Tuesday, NFL’s Ian Rapoport and Tom Pelissero reported that the linebacker would now be signing a three-year, $42 million deal with the Minnesota Vikings. The Cowboys missed out on the veteran linebacker twice. This begs the question, why did the Dallas front office make such bargain bin signings instead of using the money they saved on Randy Gregory to sign a guy like Smith?
Gregory was supposed to sign for a five-year, $70 million deal with Dallas. So far, to fill that void, the Cowboys have re-signed decent free agent defensive end Dorance Armstrong to a two-year, $13 million and recently cut Atlanta Falcons defensive end Dante Fowler to a one-year deal worth roughly $5 million. It’s hard to argue that either of these guys are at the caliber Gregory was at.
Many reports said that Dallas “did their due diligence” on Smith and other guys, but clearly that didn’t get them very far. The former Green Bay Packers linebacker is a 2x Pro Bowler and had a combined 26 sacks in 2019 and 2020. He was hurt for almost the entirety of the 2021 season, but his prior play seems far more impressive than Fowler’s or Armstrong’s.
The Cowboys lost out on linebacker Za’Darius Smith once again as he signed a deal with the Minnesota Vikings
Considering they saved a plethora of money on Gregory’s departure, it seems perfectly reasonable to think the Cowboys could have spent $42 million on Smith. Did the front office actually do their due diligence or was Smith uninterested? Unfortuantely, we will likely never know. But it’s hard to sit and watch the front office make frugal moves and essentially stay entirely in-house during free agency.
While Fowler and Armstrong certainly help, the Cowboys could definitely have done more to help the defensive situation. Now, there are rumors that Dallas is interested in Tampa Bay Bucanneers linebacker Jason Pierre-Paul. Pierre-Paul is far from his prime at 33 years old, and he just had shoulder surgery in February. Who knows that the front office will actually do. For now, it seems their goal is to keep things affordable and keep things internal.