24 Hours Later


The New York Giants went out on the first day of free agency and signed pass rusher Olivier Vernon for $85 million over five years, including $52.5 million guaranteed. The G-Men also signed corner Janoris Jenkins for $62.5 million.

Cowboys fans can’t help but feel a little bit envious. It’s like Christmas morning, except you have no presents to open. Usually you can depend on Jerry Jones to open up the checkbook and sign free agents to areas of need, especially when he has it to spend (and he does).

Maybe there’s a reason why Jones and the Cowboys are slow-playing the free agent market. Well, several actually.

First, and most importantly, when you shop on day one of free agency, you overpay for the return in talent. It almost never adds up to be worth it. Trust me – Vernon isn’t worth $85 million. Want another good example – how about Brandon Carr? Anybody want a do-over on him?

Then there’s this little fact – the Cowboys already have three key players on the roster who basically missed last season who are expected to fill major roles this fall – Tony Romo, Dez Bryant and Orlando Scandrick.

Think about that – Dallas is basically adding a starting quarterback, a top-5 NFL receiver and an impact member of the secondary to their roster next season. Yes, I know – semantics. But it’s basically true.

Meanwhile, another NFC East rival is cleaning up the mess that its former head coach made, sending former Cowboys running back DeMarco Murray to Tennessee, among other moves.

Oh, don’t get me wrong – I’m a big fan of the Cowboys being somewhat active in the free agent market. But I’m more interested in getting a backup quarterback, as well as some help for the defense.

Cedric Thornton

And on cue – voila! Dallas signs former Eagle defensive lineman Cedric Thornton on Thursday, but for a little less than Vernon (four years, $18 million). Is he as sexy as Vernon? No, but he has started in the NFL over the last three seasons and adds needed depth to the Dallas line.

Thornton’s signing is also helpful in giving the Cowboys even more flexibility on who they draft in the first couple of rounds. No doubt that Dallas would have targeted a defensive lineman without the signing of Thornton. Now the options are wide open, givng Jones and Co the luxury of taking the best player available.

Then there is that back-up quarterback situation. Matt Moore was in Valley Ranch this week as well, and he might be a candidate. RGIII? Still out there but probably headed somewhere to hopefully start. Maybe the No. 4 selection in the first round still has a signal-caller tied to it.

Of course there is also that dude named Ware who just won a Super Bowl last month. Might he be a possibility to return to Dallas and make a run at a second ring with a star on his helmet?

The answer is yes, among other options. And you can thank the Giants for making a move on Wednesday when the Cowboys didn’t.

What a difference a day makes.

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Rob Scichili (shick-lee) has worked in professional sports for over 24 years in PR and communications, including time with the Dallas Stars, Anaheim Ducks, MLB.com, Minnesota Timberwolves and Dallas Mavericks. A journalism graduate of Texas A&M, he is co-owner and editor at ScoreboardTx, principal at Shick Communications and VP at Franchise Sports & Entertainment while serving on the board of the Mike Modano Foundation.