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Offseason | 2024

Eatman: Cannonball! Cowboys must make a splash


FRISCO, Texas – OK, so maybe you didn't get the big move you were hoping for. And maybe – actually, it's probably stronger than maybe at this point – the Cowboys are not going to make any changes at the quarterback position either.

As disappointing as it was watching the Cowboys get embarrassed at home in the playoffs to a team that barely snuck into the postseason, the Cowboys are going to run it back with Mike McCarthy and Dak Prescott for the 2024 season.

My thoughts on that? It's probably the right move. I say that because I still feel like you have to play the percentages. And to me, it's always about having a team that can compete at a high level.

I get it. They haven't been good in the playoffs. But I've never seen a team win a postseason game that didn't make the playoffs in the first place. I'm not at all suggesting that you should find solace in just getting to the tournament. What I'm saying is, give me the coach who is at least knocking on the door every single year. Yes, I believe at some point the Cowboys will knock that damn playoff-door down to the ground.

But I think I'll take my chances on keeping this thing intact for another year – but if, and ONLY IF, there is a splash move to be made somewhere.

OK, so they're going to keep Mike McCarthy as head coach. I'm fine with that. They're going to keep Dak as the quarterback. I'm fine with that, although this one is tricky because of his cap number. I wouldn't be excited to keep him at the $59 million cap charge, but either way, that's something the Cowboys must figure out.

And it doesn't actually coincide well with my overall point that this Cowboys team must make a splash!

It's not going to be the head coach or the quarterback. Who knows if it'll be a defensive coordinator with Dan Quinn interviewing for other head-coaching positions?

But on this roster, the Cowboys must find a way to make a big-time move. Sure, the fans need it. The media/critics could also stand to have something like this to chew on.

But more than anything, this roster needs it as well.

I'm sorry, but Montell Jordan's philosophy of "This Is How We Do It" just has to change – maybe not forever but for this season. And what I'm talking about more than anything is free agency.

Last year was a good start, especially with the trades for Brandin Cooks and Stephon Gilmore. Those were relatively low-risk moves, and they paid off. I liked it then and I still do. Well, do it again, but this time even bigger.

The Cowboys have to find a way to get this fan base excited again. They have to find a way to even re-energize themselves into believing that next year not only can be different but will be different. And the best way to do that is to make sure you add some pieces to this puzzle who can make a difference.

Obviously, with free agency not starting until March, just about every person who might be able to help this team is under contract with another team at the moment. But we all know there are going to be players out there to obtain, either by free agency alone or via trade.

Now, the Cowboys are behind the 8-ball somewhat in the draft with not having a fourth, fifth or sixth-round pick at the moment. They'll probably add some comp picks here soon, but they're down in numbers thanks to the trades for Gilmore, Cooks and Trey Lance.

Oh well, figure it out. This team can get creative in a lot of ways, and this is the year to do it more than ever.

Go find a big-time player in the final year of his contract that a team wants to unload for something. I'm not talking about another Gilmore move, but someone that made a Pro Bowl – this year. Go add a running back that not only has produced in this league, but produced last year.

When the top names are listed on the free-agency boards, which I'm sure are already being formulated right now even though teams still have decisions to make, the Cowboys need to be doing everything possible to acquire some of these players – players they may have never considered in the past.

But the Cowboys need to get completely out of their "comfort" zone in terms of offseason moves. Because, honestly, there's really nothing comfortable about this situation at all.

The Cowboys are coming off one of the most disappointing finishes to any season in team history. Other than the fact Trevon Diggs should be returning to this defense after missing most of last season with a knee injury, there isn't a lot of things the Cowboys can just hang their hat on, especially when you consider a 2023 draft class that barely produced at all.

The Cowboys are drafting No. 24 in the first round this year and have three rounds without a pick currently. If they don't make a move – or three – in free agency, then it's going to be extremely hard for this team to truly get over the hump.

The two biggest pieces to the puzzle for any football team is the quarterback and head coach. The Cowboys don't appear to be making any big moves there.

We haven't heard from Dak Prescott yet, but Mike McCarthy said many things on Thursday, headlined by, "We've got work to do."

To me, it starts with finding ways to make cannonball-like splashes with this roster.

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