Clarence Hill: Aggressive and smart Dallas Cowboys have gotten better in March
Published in Football
FRISCO, Texas — For years the Dallas Cowboys have sat out the first week of free agency.
They have sat idle while watching other teams exhaust all avenues to improve their rosters, while they have focused only on managing the cap and bargain basement shopping once the big tickets were gone.
The Cowboys are moving differently in 2023.
So much so that I can say for the first time in a long time that the Cowboys are a better team after the first week of free agency than they were at the end of the season.
Simply put, the Cowboys won March in player acquisition and not just in salary cap management as in the past.
And they did it with smart and aggressive moves, capped by Sunday’s trade with the Houston Texans for receiver Brandon Cooks for fifth-round pick in 2023 and a sixth-round pick in 2024.
The moves began with the decision to place the $10.1 million franchise tag on running back Tony Pollard. They then re-signed safety Donovan Wilson, acquired cornerback Stephen Gilmore in a trade with the Indianapolis Colts for a 2023 fifth-round pick, re-signed linebacker Leighton Vander Esch, quarterback Cooper Rush and special teams ace C.J. Goodwin, released running back Ezekiel Elliott and got tackle Tyron Smith to take a pay cut.
The Cowboys have yet to add an outside free agent.
But the acquisitions of Cooks and Gilmore via trade akin to doing the same thing.
Cooks immediately upgrades the pass catchers for Dak Prescott and helps make up for the decision to part ways with Amari Cooper in part to save money one year earlier.
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