Cowboys will be active in free agency

IRVING, Texas – Contrary to popular opinion, the Cowboys do not act like the New York Yankees when it comes to unrestricted free agency.

In the last two years they have signed two unrestricted free agents: Kenyon Coleman and Abram Elam. They signed three players in 2009 but none in 2008.

The Cowboys are currently $12.6 million under the cap and could create enough room by releasing players or restructuring contracts to have as much as $20-25 million in space.

Owner and general manager Jerry Jones can’t guarantee the Cowboys will be able to sign players when the market opens March 13, but he does predict they will be a player.

“The way I read it all right now is that we’re going to be active in free agency,” Jones said.

The last mega-money contract Jones doled out in free agency was to Leonard Davis in 2007 ($49 million). In 2005 he shelled out about $30 million in guarantees to Marco Rivera, Anthony Henry and Jason Ferguson.

In other years the Cowboys have gone for quantity over top-quality with some success. In 2003 they added Al Singleton, Richie Anderson, Dan Campbell and Toby Gowin. In 2006 they added Akin Ayodele and Kyle Kosier. (Technically Terrell Owens did not count as an unrestricted free agent because he had been cut by Philadelphia.)

Jones said the new labor agreement between the players and owners will help take out some of the monetary guesswork.

“We have an almost exact understanding of where we’re going to be with our contracts and available room under the cap as we look ahead and where we are right now,” Jones said. “If you fact that into it and use that space up, there’s no gamble. You know exactly what’s out there. Now the true game is if the player should not be the player you think he is and you end up paying more than you should.”