2011 definitely was not a year to remember if you were a Cowboys fan. There were glimpses of promise throughout portions of the season, but the majority of the year was plagued with one let-down after another. And the culprit came from every phase of the game, from offense, to defense, to special teams & even to the coaching staff. A quick glimpse at this season’s failures may lead you to believe that certain departments (secondary, offensive line, etc.) need a complete makeover. I’ve heard “complete defensive overhaul” numerous times on this board; and although it makes sense to just go out and sign as many coveted free agents as we can, this formula rarely leads to the desired end-result. The top name player’s are often over-paid for in free agency because there is always a high demand for a quick fix. Now I won’t lie, I’ve fallen victim to craving the “Nicks, Finnegan, Landry, (insert any other impact player)” grocery list…and my post history shows it. But the more I think about it, the less satiated I am in taking this route. The reason? As stated earlier, the top free-agent’s current market value is exponentially higher than their actual value. High pay often leads to complacency and a dip in production. Cap issues arise in the near future (especially if reasons to 1 & 2 apply as well). Think I am crazy? Look no further than the Dream Team. Just about every one of their free-agents besides Babin for the lack of a better word a disappointment. Even the inexorable Nnamdi seemed guilty of being “too rich to care the same”. I think a much better approach to free-agency is to try and emulate what San Francisco did this past season. Instead of signing Nnamdi to a lucrative contract, they went with a 1 year deal on the talented, yet underachieving Carlos Rogers. Opting for serviceable/affordable signings such as Alex Smith, Dashon Goldson, Donte Whitner, etc. seemed to be the 49er’s blueprint coming into the 2011 season. Needless to say, those signings did more than just suffice. Talent is important, don’t get me wrong. But it is equally as imperative to sign player’s with heart, fight, and an incentive every time they step onto that field. The chances of getting that guy are higher when you sign men to shorter-term deals. I think with an infusion of both talent and heart, this team can improve in dramatic fashion. With the way this season went for us, I think Jason and Jerry’s mantra should be to get guys that want to fight for this team. You can’t necessarily preach it, but you can get guys that fit the mold. Believe it or not, I don't think this team is as far away from the elite teams as many critics think they are. With the addition of just a few players on both sides of the ball, I can picture a balanced team that can compete against the best offenses and put up points against the dominant defenses. By cutting Newman & Brooking, and Kitna retiring, we save around 10 million dollars; leaving us roughly 30 million dollars under the cap. Free Agency: *Re-sign Laurent Robinson (shouldn’t be too expensive because there is a surplus of WRs available) *Re-sign Tony Fiametta *Re-sign Abram Elam *Richard Marshall (CB)- The Cardinals should re-sign them, but I’m sure he will be looking for a decent deal after having a productive season. I’d give this guy Scandrick type money. Maybe a bit more. *D’Qwell Jackson (MLB)- He will be expensive, yes. But his presence will change the dynamics of this defense. * Samson Satele (C)- Concussions are an issue, but I still think he’s a solid enough football player who’s worth the risk. Has heart. *Chilo Rachal (OG)- Young, adequate player who should come cheap. -------------------------------- Draft: Rd 1. Dontari Poe (NT)- Will shoot up draft boards. Hard worker with out of the roof potential. Can be the next Haloti Ngata. Although they play different positions, this pick reminds me of the DeMarcus Ware pick in so many different ways. Rd. 2 Kelechi Osemele (OG)- I don’t care if we have to trade a 4th and/or a 5th to move up and get him. This guy is another freak similar to Poe but on the offensive side of the trenches. Is a little raw, but If he learns to use his wingspan properly…the sky is the limit. Rd. 3 Trumaine Johnson (CB)- Big corner that can matchup nicely vs. today's prototypical big WRs. ------------------------------------------------------ Moral of the story (forget anything I’ve said in the past), we can’t be the Dan Snyder of the offseason. I, for one, am hoping our team takes a methodical approach to Free Agency and gets value out of the dollars spent. Don’t cripple the future to fix the now. Half the time it doesn’t even work because the players you give those big bonuses to seem to lose their incentive to perform at a high level.