Our final offseason recap debuts today as we take a look at what's been going on with the Dallas Cowboys. Be sure to check out our recaps of the Philadelphia Eagles and Washington Redskins, too.
Last year: 8-8, second place in the NFC East
How season ended: Dallas had its' shot at an NFC East title entering into Week 17 for the third consecutive year, but when Kyle Orton’s fourth quarter pass floated into the arms of Brandon Boykin, Dallas was once again relegated to the couch for the post season.
2013 storyline: After firing Rob Ryan, brother of Rex, as defensive coordinator following the 2012 season, Dallas hired Monte Kiffin to take over. Revamping Dallas from it’s attacking 3-4 ways to his signature Tamp 2 4-3, Kiffin’s defense struggled. Dallas finished last in average yards per game (415.3), 25th in points allowed (27 ppg), and allowed a league-worst 24.2 first downs per game.
Free agent losses: Jerry Jones had his work cut out from him the moment Dallas was eliminated from the post season as the Cowboys found themselves nearly $18 million over the cap. In order to get under, Dallas was forced to part with WR Miles Austin, DE/LB Demarcus Ware and center Phil Costa. Cap-strapped, Dallas has been unable to retain players such as Anthony Spencer and Jason Hatcher.
Still need: Dallas has holes all over the field as Jerry Jones and Co. will need an incredibly solid draft in order to make a run at a divisional title. The team needs a pass rusher with Ware gone, a wideout with Austin gone, some offensive line help and desperately needs more help for a historically bad defense.
Outlook: It’s hard to look positively on Dallas’ potential for the upcoming season as cap struggles have limited its ability to improve. The defense was bad, then lost its best player, its offense had a very good receiving core, then it lost Austin. If Jones hits a home run in the draft, Dallas could make a run, but that scenario appears unlikely.
Offseason grade thus far: D-