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Mailbag: What’s The Best Free Agency Approach?

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Good to see the Cowboys avoid the urge to dive into the first day of free agency and have to shell out large contracts. Using the available cap space to re-sign their own players and continue to draft well is a good strategy in my opinion for the Cowboys. That being said, there are some holes that still have to be filled, so do you see them being players in the second tier of free agents to add some depth to safety, defensive line and offensive line? - BRIAN SELWIN / HICKSVILLE, NY

Bryan: No question they will, but I believe they’re still in the Earl Thomas hunt, which is huge. Him not going elsewhere the first day was a great bit of news for the club if they’re interested. At the end of the week they might actually be able to pull this off.

Rob: Well, I think it’s premature to say they won’t be active at all in this early negotiation stage. But yes, they’ve always got a ceiling on what they’re going to pay top free agents. I do think they’ll be more involved in the second wave, as usual. All three spots you mentioned are possibilities, and defensive line, to me, is the biggest need. It’s a shallower free agent pool than safety, however.

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I hear a lot of talk about how the team cannot sign everyone and about them letting players like Cole Beasley test the market, but how can fans expect more than a second-round exit next year if the team loses key players and other veteran contributors and replaces them with either cheaper options or first-year draft picks? Is it realistically possible for this team to get any better next year given the circumstances? - JEREMY CRENSHAW / ANNA, TX

Bryan: You don’t think that guys like Leighton Vander Esch, Jaylon Smith, Michael Gallup, Connor Williams are not going to get better? Just because you see someone overpaying for a player doesn’t mean that team got better. There is a lot of times where it’s the exact opposite. As long as this team has a plan by drafting and finding guys like Antwaun Woods it will be better in the long run.

Rob: Yeah, it’s possible. They’ve got about a dozen 2018 starters age 25 or younger. If there’s a team that can get better largely from within, it’s this young group. I do agree there’s a middle ground in free agency and you’ve got to spend a little to get the return you need. But when you draft well, as the Cowboys have for years, you have top players that need contracts, too. Often the teams that spend the most are compensating for spots they haven’t filled in the draft.

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