Whether the Dallas Cowboys’ window is closing or not appears to be a popular topic these days. In this article, I will make a case for both sides before ultimately letting you know where I stand. Let’s get to it, shall we?
The Dallas Cowboys’ Window Has Been Nailed Shut
The stars aligned for the Dallas Cowboys in 2021. They won the NFC East and finished as the third seed in the NFC. And they were relatively healthy going into their home playoff game versus the sixth-seeded San Francisco 49ers.
Most importantly, the Cowboys were loaded with talent on both sides of the ball. In fact, I would take their 2021 roster over any other in football. With over twenty players set to become free agents, 2021 was seemingly their best chance in years to go all the way.
Well, we all know what happened. The Cowboys failed us yet again. Clearly, the 2022 version of the Cowboys will be different. And when I say different, I actually mean much worse.
The Dallas Cowboys Will Lose A Lot Of Talent
The Cowboys are up against it regarding the salary cap. In an effort to shed salary, the Cowboys have already released TE Blake Jarwin and K Greg Zuerlein among others. Although I doubt many fans are crying over losing them, trading WR Amari Cooper to the Cleveland Browns for next to nothing really stings.
The Cowboys might also lose notable contributors such as WR Michael Gallup, DE Randy Gregory, S Jayron Kearse, and countless others in the coming days. Additionally, DE Demarcus Lawrence refused to take a pay cut. Thus, like Cooper, Lawrence is also a candidate to be moved. Another rumor is that the Cowboys are currently shopping RT La’el Collins.
Things Set Up Perfectly For The Dallas Cowboys In 2021
Hence, you can see that there is no way the 2022 roster will be as talented as the 2021 Cowboys. What is worse is that for the first time in years the Cowboys’ key players were all healthy and ready for a deep playoff run in 2021. Can we really bank on being so fortunate on the injury front two years in a row?
In short, Dak and co could not do it in 2021 when all things were set up perfectly for them. How can we possibly expect them to do better in 2022 with a depleted roster (and possibly less injury luck)?
The Dallas Cowboys’ Window Is Still Wide Open
Even with the loss of several key players this offseason, the Dallas Cowboys are in the NFC East, the weakest division in football. The Cowboys will still have the most talented roster in the division. And, unquestionably, Dak Prescott is the best QB in the division. This alone gives the Cowboys a great opportunity to get back to the playoffs.
Young Players Get Better With Experience
When you factor in that Dan Quinn will be in his second year with the team, the Cowboys’ young defense figures to take a step forward. Moreover, the Cowboys have some elite young players that are still elevating their game as they gain more experience. The sky is the limit for young Pro Bowlers like CeeDee Lamb and Micah Parsons. Also, CB Kelvin Joseph will be given an opportunity to show the Cowboys’ brass why they drafted him in the second round last year.
Building The Team Through The Draft
Speaking of which, the Cowboys have recently enjoyed great success in the draft. Hence, one way to replenish the talent on their team is to continue to draft well. This also has the added benefits of getting younger and cheaper. And from a team-building perspective, the Cowboys desperately needed to shed the salary of overpriced veterans. Some could even argue that by moving off such players, the Cowboys are not losing much at all.
Production Did Not Match Salaries
That is, although we can all agree that players like Cooper and Lawrence are good football players, their bloated salaries did not come close to matching their production last year. By moving off these players for financial reasons, we need to see what the Cowboys do with the salary cap savings. If trading Cooper allows the Cowboys to sign LB Bobby Wagner or DE Randy Gregory, wouldn’t every Cowboys fan be down for that?
Paying Good Players Great Money Is Not Smart Business
We will be having the same discussion next year about RB Ezekiel Elliot when the dead-cap hit is no longer exorbitant. Further, next year, surely the talk about paying WR CeeDee Lamb will begin in earnest. Thus, assuming Lamb shows he is worth top WR money, it actually did make sense to move off Cooper at the current time.
Lastly, the Cowboys themselves know they failed last year. They will come back this year hungrier than ever. At the end of the day, talent alone does not get a team over the hump. The battle-hardened 2022 Dallas Cowboys will be a smarter and more experienced team.
What Is The Final Verdict On The Cowboys’ Window?
Due to the seeming parity in the NFC, I truly feel that the Cowboys’ window is still open. However, this does not necessarily mean that I expect them to fly right through it. I know how hard it will be for them to take the next step.
Until this team proves that they can win big games in January, I think we need to be cautious. The Dallas Cowboys certainly have many good players right now. However, to truly be considered great, these players will need to elevate themselves when it matters most.
I believe they will put themselves in a position to have that opportunity next season. Will they squander it again? Or will they finally seize the moment?
Do you think the Cowboys’ chances to win are over? Comment below and join the discussion.