In the past weeks, the Cowboys have been plagued with injuries. La’el Collins, Sean Lee, Leighton Vander Esch, Tyron Smith, and most recently Chidobe Awuzie have all been sidelined for multiple weeks.
Many fans have been clamoring for Dallas to go out and sign the next available free agents to help in these positions.
People like Earl Thomas or Damon “Snacks” Harrison. But so far, the Cowboys front office has remained true to their word when they say they are not looking for outside help.
Here’s why this may be a good decision despite popular belief.
Though going out and getting an experienced veteran to fill in injury spots could be good in the short term, it could hurt the team in the long run.
Let us look at last season. Jason Witten came out of retirement to rejoin the Cowboys and though the coaching staff said he would be taking fewer snaps, he ended up taking 75 percent of the snaps at tight end according to Pro Football Focus. This hurt the guys behind him on the depth chart.
We saw flashes of talent from Blake Jarwin and had almost no gauge on Dalton Schultz’s ability. Now Witten is gone, Jarwin is hurt, and fans have no idea what to expect out of Schultz. Though he did play great last week.
This is the point, if a team continues to hold players who are lower on the depth chart off the field, they will never be able to prove that they are worthy of starting. This is why the Cowboys might be sticking to their “next man up” mantra.
It is natural to want the Cowboys to sign an accomplished free agent who can make an immediate impact, but when that player’s one-year contract ends the team is back in the same situation they are now.
Letting the young guys build their experience makes the whole team stronger. For example, linebacker Joe Thomas has stepped up to fill Vander Esch’s role and he was graded as the best defensive player on the field last Sunday. Right now, Thomas is under contract for only $1.1 million this year compared to Vander Esch who is costing the Cowboys $2.9 million a year.
If everyone on the depth chart has real game-time experience then losing a starter to injury will not be as big of a blow as it has been lately.
It is hard to be patient when you want the Cowboys to win, but patience could translate into even more wins in the next few seasons.
Let the boys play and maybe there will be some diamonds in the rough.
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