The new way to win championships in the NFL is already confirmed and ratified and the Dallas Cowboys should have taken note.
First it was the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Los Angeles Rams followed with victory last Sunday in Super Bowl LVI by beating the Cincinnati Bengals.
The patience and rebuilding processes are over, as is the search for the franchise quarterback through the draft and then developing him into something that seems to soon be a myth.
The Rams and Buccaneers have shown that it’s more worthwhile to hire a proven quarterback who can still execute, albeit at a high cost and salary-cap weight, and is accompanied by more high-level additions to the team. offensive and defensive.
This method has been used for a long time in the Major Leagues, where the limit of direct player transfers between teams has been a transcendent date in a historical way.
In the NFL, this practice is just beginning to take center stage, as the Rams did when they gave up their second and third round college selections in the next draft to the Denver Broncos to acquire linebacker Von Miller, who was instrumental in closing the season. regular and even more so in the Playoffs.
In the same way, as happens in the Major Leagues, after the trade deadline, you will have to wait for some players who are or ask to be released, wait for the waivers list to pass, which usually will happen, because they are few those who want to inherit the remaining stratospheric contracts from those stars and grab them cheaply to close out the season. This was the case with Odell Beckham Jr., who was also key for Los Angeles.
A year earlier, Tom Brady left the New England Patriots to revive the Buccaneers in almost every way until they became NFL champions and protagonists.
Brady’s image was so great that it attracted players to the Buccaneers, who could earn more or be better sheltered in other organizations, but who preferred to go to Tampa Bay to get the championship they achieved in 2020, such as Rob Grownkoski, who only left retirement to accompany his quarterback and friend.
It didn’t even take Brady, considered the greatest player of all time, to have an in-person offseason program to win. The quarterback came to the team straight into the regular season, due to the pandemic, taking a few games to get into a rhythm and then he didn’t look back.
Thus, for example, it happened with Aaron Rodgers, who played until the regular season and although he had a very bad first game against the New Orleans Saints, he never took his foot off the accelerator until the Green Bay Packers got the best record in the entire NFL in regular season.
The Packers were eliminated in the Postseason Divisional Round, but nobody can blame Rodgers and his offense for the loss.
Some teams, like the Dallas Cowboys, should take note of that after finishing last season with 12 wins, the division title and an almost chronic elimination in their first playoff game.
The Cowboys are, perhaps, a few players away from being able to compete in a real way for the ticket to the Super Bowl, where anything can happen, as almost happens with the Bengals and unlike the Patriots and the Rams, it is not even about replacing a quarterback
Prescott threw for 4,449 yards with 37 touchdowns and had just 10 interceptions in the just-concluded regular season, which marked his return from a horrific injury sustained in Game 5 of 2020.
Only Brady and Rodgers had a better scoring-versus-interception differential than Prescott in 2021. That stat doesn’t mean the Dallas quarterback is any better than the previous two, either, but it does at least indicate he can play well in the NFL.
Dallas will have to think about reinforcing both tackles on the offensive line in free agency because the best years of Tyron Smith and La’el Collins are behind them. Also to his left guard Connor Williams, whose low game and numerous punishments committed have cost the Cowboys dearly.
Linebacker Micah Parsons, who was named Rookie of the Year and was second in the voting for Defensive Player of the Year, needs immediate help before his most productive seasons, like his time with DeMarcus Lawrence, are over. It is a fact that Leighton Vander Esch is far from being the player he was at the beginning of his career.
Behind Parsons and Vander Esch, neither Keanu Neal, much less Luke Gifford, will be the solution. Japril Cox is hardly a project. It wouldn’t go down well for the Cowboys’ aspirations to cut 26 years without reaching the Super Bowl if they thought of a top-level safety to accompany the jewel they found in Jayron Kearse.
The Cowboys should perhaps think about high-profile trades, even if they sacrifice future first-round picks in the draft, like the Rams did to win their second Super Bowl. The last time Dallas did something like this, it worked out of the box by trading with the Las Vegas Raiders for catcher Amari Cooper.
The salary cap is complicated, but it is the same for the other 31 teams in the most competitive league in the world.
For now, it is unlikely that all of the above will happen in Dallas. Team vice president Stephen Jones said they will continue the culture of developing their own talent; the one that has arrived via draft or low-cost free agency.