BOCA RATON, Fla. – Gradually, the Cowboys are dipping into the free agent market.
They've signed defensive tackle Cedric Thornton. They've signed running back Alfred Morris. They're expected to officially sign defensive end Benson Mayowa. They've re-signed seven of their own players, including 2015 starters Morris Claiborne and Rolando McClain. And they've had discussions with free agent cornerback Patrick Robinson, who visited Valley Ranch on Monday.
But Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones acknowledges there are three big additions already on the roster.
"I think our biggest improvement – and I'm not trying to be trite – will be a healthy (Tony) Romo and a healthy (Dez) Bryant. And having (Orlando) Scandrick," Jones said Tuesday. "That'll be our biggest improvement. Then I would say probably draft, as far as an impact."
Romo missed 12 games with the fractured left collarbone. Bryant missed seven games with foot and ankle injuries. Scandrick missed the entire season with the knee injury.
The Cowboys expect all three starters to return healthy and add a playmaking element to the offense (Romo, Bryant) and defense (Scandrick).[embeddedad0]
In the meantime, these recent moves should help the team avoid reaching in the draft, where they hope to find multiple impact players with their nine total selections.
"We're addressing specific areas that we need," Jones said. "I'm hesitant to use 'depth' – we just need contributions. We're certainly going to play a lot of guys, and where we've brought some of these guys in – whether it be at running back, whether it be defensive line – we need some numbers. And we're getting them."