With this upcoming free agency cycle, it seems like there will be a ton of talent. Do you think Dallas will put a certain priority on players who have already become free agents, like safety Kenny Vaccaro, or do you think they will stick to the second and third wave theory they usually work with? — TONY SMALLS / GLENDALE, AZ
Nick: Is there a fourth wave? I think that's maybe where the Cowboys are going to be. Honestly, we know how this team operates in free agency and I don't think anything will change this year. I'm not sure it could've changed had they wanted to take a different approach. The available free-agent dollars just aren't there. I think you'll some re-signings with their own free agents. Maybe getting Jourdan Lewis back could be the biggest splash. Who knows, maybe there's a surprise or two. But history has suggested not to get too excited about the Cowboys being active.
Jonny: It's tough to say. My thinking last week was that it would be hard for me to believe they would spend at a position like safety just based on recent history. But the Dak deal did awaken a sort of clarity about how good this offense should be and how much money will be wasted if it's canceled out by a bottom-five defense. They'll have some salary cap to spare, so where do they realistically think they can improve on defense with the right player? You can only find out if a player is worth $25 million after you've seen them in your system for a year. That's why building a roster is difficult.
Due to COVID restrictions we saw the league expand the practice squad restrictions and game day roster restrictions. Is there a chance this is maintained going forward? Or do you see the league reverting back to the previous policy? — SEAN GAUTIER / LYNN HAVEN, FL
Nick: I wish I had the answer to that. Like with many COVID-related items, I would imagine we see some kind of compromise. I bet it's not back to the way it was two years ago, but I'd be surprised if it's the same number it was last year. The biggest aspect here is how quickly players can get signed to new teams. That's why the rosters were higher. Teams couldn't just go sign a player Tuesday and have him on the field by Sunday. So if it's easier to get players in the door, then I don't think it'll be as necessary to have larger roster limits.
Jonny: We don't know the answers to those questions. I personally think it would be shortsighted to change everything back to normal. Sure, the NFL had impressive numbers in terms of containing COVID-19, but you don't want to get into a situation where you become complacent with the idea that minimal positive cases is acceptable. Every player who contracts the virus can spread it to his family. It's OK to continue to treat an improving situation with urgency, and that's what I would hope the NFL does, which would mean maintaining the majority of the changes they put in place for the 2020 season.