COMMENTARY | Free agency may not officially begin until March 12th, but for the Dallas Cowboys, planning for it began the moment Tony Romo threw his 19th interception of the season.
Of course, their offseason checklist has been reprioritized.
While the focus of the NFL community has been on the playoffs, Jerry Jones' team, as always, has had no shortage of attention. The unexpected firing of defensive coordinator Rob Ryan set the stage for debate across the social media fray. His release cleared up any doubt about the changes Jones threatened after their season ending loss to the Washington Redskins.
The effect Ryan's departure will have on the upcoming free agency period largely depends on his replacement. There is some speculation that the desire for an entire defensive makeover led to his dismissal. It's certainly more complicated than just switching schemes. You don't fire a contractor in the middle of the job unless you're ready for a complete redesign.
But before that redesign can happen, you have to analyze your financial status. The Cowboys are projected to be about $20 million above the salary cap. Combine that with 16 free agents, an entire draft class yet to be named and it's hard to imagine any sort of major acquisition.
Put simply, the Cowboys are broke. They can't afford to take the gloves off and go swinging into March with a blank check.