The Dallas Cowboys watched defenders stream out of the building this offseason.
After losing four of its top six players from 2016 in the secondary, Cowboys VP Stephen Jones isn’t fretting.
“There is a little bit of method to the madness here,” Jones said Sunday at the NFL’s Annual League Meeting in Phoenix, via the Dallas Morning News.
The Cowboys watched corners Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne and safeties Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox depart via free agency, while adding only CB Nolan Carroll.
Expect Dallas to add secondary help during April’s draft, which is deep at the corner position.
“Right now, going into the draft, we feel really good about our numbers,” Jones said. “But at the same time we feel this is going to be a great opportunity for us to improve on the defensive side of the ball.
“It just so happens we feel the draft is inordinately strong on the defensive side of the ball.”
Jones noted that while they attempted to retain the likes of Carr, Claiborne and Church, the cap-strapped Cowboys were outbid for the services of the veterans.
“Players we want to keep, we keep them,” Jones declared. “Most of these players, I’m not going to single out guys, but most of them we were ready to let move on.
“Now, there were a few if they would have been for the right price, we would have done it. But we certainly didn’t want to get into overpaying for anybody. … At the end of the day, we value our players. At certain numbers, it’s efficient for us to sign them. At other numbers, it’s not.”
The Cowboys‘ confidence in defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli to make a stew out of leftover ingredients explains the team’s lack of urgency about losing pieces to an already suspect defense.
Dallas’ best chance to upgrade its D will be through the draft which is stacked on that side of the ball.
“There’s no question,” Jones said. “We think some of the best depth in the draft is the defensive line and the secondary in our view. Now let me be real clear. If a great offensive player shows up that’s of great value to us, that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to pick an offensive player. But our focus is on defense.”