IRVING, Texas – As to be expected, the start of the NFL's free-agent signing period on Wednesday had the hallways of Valley Ranch looking very much like they did on Tuesday, and Monday and most of the last two months as well.
Sure, the Cowboys made some news earlier in the day when they agreed to terms on a one-year deal with linebacker Rolando McClain, but for the most part, it was an otherwise quiet beginning to free agency for the Cowboys.
As for other teams, such as the Houston Texans, who spent more than $120 million in contracts for just three players, Wednesday was a day to reshape the roster in a major way. One of the players Houston signed – running back Lamar Miller – was a player many Cowboys fans were hoping might land in Dallas. Another top running back – Matt Forte – is expected to sign with the Jets.
But rarely in the last few years have the Cowboys been the aggressors in free agency. In 2012, they did sign five players in the first couple of days, including cornerback Brandon Carr. However, the Cowboys usually like to wait for the first, and sometimes second wave, of free agency to clear before looking to strike deals.
Last month in Indianapolis at the scouting combine, Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones shared his candid thoughts on this time of year.
"I'm not a big fan of free agency; I'll be the first to admit it," Jones said. "Unfortunately, good players get paid like they're great players, average players get paid like they're good players and it's a domino effect. It's not a great way to put your team together. You never say never. I think sometimes there are necessities that you need to jump out and do some things. Hopefully you're not really needing to have something that you're paying a good player like he's a great player. We've done it before. It doesn't mean we won't do it ever again, but you try not to."
That being said, the Cowboys are expected to bring in two players for visits on Thursday. Quarterback Matt Moore, a veteran backup with the Panthers and Dolphins, is among the visitors who the Cowboys have interest in. Moore actually started out with the Cowboys in 2007 but was released at the end of camp.[embeddedad0]
Moore hasn't started a game since 2011 when he had 12 starts for the Dolphins. Overall, Moore is 13-12 in his 25 career starts.
The Cowboys are also planning to look at defensive end Cedric Thornton, who played in Philadelphia's 3-4 scheme last year. Thornton is likely a versatile defensive tackle in the Cowboys' scheme, who could play either of the defensive tackle spots in a 4-3 system.
Last year with the Eagles, Thornton missed the only three games of his career, but has started 45 of 48 games the past three seasons. In four years with Philly, Thornton has recorded just one sack per season.
Of the Cowboys' 17 unrestricted free agents, the only one to join another team is veteran quarterback Matt Cassel, who signed a deal with the Titans, likely to back up Marcus Mariota, the No. 2 overall pick last season.
Other notable free agents for the Cowboys include cornerback Morris Claiborne, defensive ends Greg Hardy and Jack Crawford and running back Lance Dunbar.