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Mailbag: A New Free Agent Philosophy Coming?


The last three NFC teams that made the Super Bowl (Buccaneers, Rams and Eagles) were very aggressive in free agency before and during the season. Last week, Jerry Jones didn't commit to going that route, but could there be a change of philosophy in the Cowboys' front office? Should there be if they want to get over the top? – Maurice Wellington/Virginia Beach, VA

Nick: I don't think you'll ever see a change in the philosophy. Last week, Stephen Jones talked about the fact that six of the eight teams that went to the divisional round all ranked in the Top 10 in "homegrown" talent, with the Cowboys ranking first with 70 percent of the roster coming from their own draft and undrafted free agents. And when you draft well, it means you've got big contracts of your own to re-sign – just like the Cowboys do coming up here with Pollard, CeeDee, Diggs and Parsons to name a few. But all that being said, I would like to see the Cowboys go for a big splash in free agency every once in a while. And Stephen said that, too, they'll always entertain a free agent or trade if it makes sense. I think I'd like to see it happen more than it does. But without sounding hypocritical, I do understand why it never seems to happen. This organization values draft picks and usually to make a big move, it's going to cost you some valuable picks that the Cowboys typically don't like to give up. We'll see if this year is any different.

Patrik: I contend there has already been a change in the Cowboys' free agency philosophy. I think it's easy to forget how the team would undervalue positions like safety (perennially) and nose tackle, as two examples, but they've "suddenly" seen the light on the defensive side of the ball once Dan Quinn walked into the building — leading to acquisitions like Malik Hooker, Jayron Kearse and Johnathan Hankins (along with Dante Fowler, Anthony Barr, etc.). They saw an issue with OL depth after losing Tyron Smith and signed Jason Peters. Cornerback help? Xavier Woods. Help at receiver? T.Y. Hilton. Struggling at returner? KaVontae Turpin. I suppose my point is that while they might definitely benefit from being more active early in free agency, to assume they've not become more aggressive wouldn't be accurate. It's also key to consider that because they draft well, any highly-coveted in-house free agents they can retain, to me, counts significantly toward this formula of aggressiveness.

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