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Mailbag: Enough Cap Space To Add Veteran DT?

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It's obvious that Dak is a well-liked teammate and leader within the building. Do you think there would be negative repercussions from his teammates if the team does not sign him long-term? E.g. Zeke wanting to play somewhere else, receivers being unhappy having to potentially work with a rookie instead of Dak, etc. — H. MELVIN / OCEAN CITY, NJ

David: I definitely think that's an under-discussed element of this situation. Dak is one of the most beloved guys in the locker room, and it probably doesn't sit well with a lot of guys that this has dragged on so long. At the same time, these are professionals who understand that there's a business aspect to all of this. I don't think any current Cowboy players would want out because of what happens with Dak. But this could be the type of thing that has an effect on what outside free agents think about signing here.

Nick: There's no doubt that would happen. If you look at certain media personalities who have decided to make this Dak situation a personal matter for them, imagine what it might be like for players that are actually affected? More than anything, if the Cowboys choose to another option at quarterback, I would think the veteran leaders on the team would start to seriously question the actual direction of the team. They think Dak gives them the chance to win right now but if you started over, I'm sure there will be other players wanting out.

A lot of people are talking about signing J.J. Watt. I think he still has something left in the tank. However, I think he's played in a 3-4 defensive scheme his entire career. Kawann Short seems like a better option in terms of fit (4-3 scheme), cost, and upside. Although he's had back to back injured seasons, he's a load when healthy. Also, we are still trying to sign Dak so we can't break the bank for anyone right now. Your thoughts? — MARK FACYSON / CORAL SPRINGS, FL

David: I think you laid it out pretty perfectly. I'd love for them to take a shot at Kawann Short. He's been one of the better defensive tackles in football when healthy, and that injury history you mentioned might push his price down. Unfortunately, it's pretty hard to speculate how much money they might be able to spend in free agency, because we don't know how much of it is going to be tied to Dak. I'll be interested to see how they navigate free agency next month – especially if they have to do it with Dak on the tag.

Nick: It's natural for Cowboys fans - or any fan of their team - to see a player that is now available and wonder if they'd be a fit for your team. The problem here is that the two guys you mentioned were made available because of two reasons. - two reasons that don't fit well with the Cowboys. Not only did they make a lot of money but they've been hurt. I can't imagine Watt or Short being cheap to sign. At this point, the Cowboys must get Dak's deal done if they want to have any room at all to sign other players.

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