I've counted 16 one-year contracts so far. Why so many one-year contracts? Building up for one shot at the Super Bowl, waiting to see what these players do or just hiring backups?– JIM WHATLEY / HENDERSON, TX
Rob: This isn't some big departure from past free agent periods. Last year they gave Randall Cobb a one-year deal and traded for Robert Quinn in the final year of his contract with the Dolphins. Their approach remains pretty much the same: Re-sign their own top guys, plug holes with cost-effective signings that don't hamstring the cap long term, and try to draft as close to "best player available" as possible.
Nick: I certainly wouldn't call this a build-up for a Super Bowl run. Not to say it's not a good enough team, but I don't think that's the mindset with the one-year contracts. It's really more of a prove-it deal for a lot of these guys. And that's not anything new. Robert Quinn was traded here last year to prove he could still play with one year left. Randall Cobb parlayed a one-year deal into a big contract in Houston. So it's just a chance for players can bet on themselves and it's not a big risk for either side.
With his sudden retirement, what is Travis Frederick's overall plus/minus hit on the salary cap?– JEFF KLUGER / WALNUT CREEK, CA
Rob: Frederick's retirement will be a cap hit of roughly $11 million which could get spread out over two years.
Nick: Well, it just depends what the Cowboys decide to do. He'll count about $11 million against the cap. They could eat it all now by placing him on reserve/retired before June 1. If they do it after June 1, about $7 million of it would hit the cap this year, and the rest next season. Of course, the Cowboys could theoretically try to get some of Frederick's signing bonus back. But after all that he went through, I just don't see the Cowboys trying to do that. Personally, I would take the hit this year. He was going to count against that anyway. And next year, some of these contracts for Jaylon Smith, Amari Cooper and Zack Martin are going to start ballooning out even more. I would just take the hit now and be done with it.