Insiders not high on Cowboys' work so far

IRVING, Texas -- The guys over on ESPN Insiders are not fansInsider of what the Dallas Cowboys have -- or have not -- done in free agency so far this offseason, giving them a D grade.

The only team with a worse grade is the Oakland Raiders, who earned an F.

The grade had more to do with the losses of DeMarcus Ware, Jason Hatcher and Miles Austin, than the signings of Henry Melton, Terrell McClain, Jeremy Mincey and Brandon Weeden. I understand that line of thinking. I don’t know how the Cowboys can expect Melton, who is coming back from a torn ACL, and Mincey (or any combination of the defensive ends on the roster) to be better than Hatcher and Ware.

But where I disagree to an extent is how much the cap held them back.

The Cowboys could have restructured Ware’s deal without any problem. They could have fit Hatcher’s deal under the cap. They could have signed Julius Peppers or Jared Allen once Ware left. They could have signed just about anybody they wanted.

To me, they chose not to. They chose to get out of the game where they pushed more money into the future. They chose to not pay thirtysomethings large amounts of cash.

So what I wonder is if the Cowboys did those things with Ware and Hatcher or signed a Peppers or an Allen, wouldn’t the argument have been the Cowboys are doing the same old thing?

If the grade is about the personnel, then I can understand it, but it’s too easy to just pick apart the cap mismanagement as a reason why they didn’t (or haven’t) gone after higher-priced free agents.