Dallas Cowboys fans have been very critical of the decisions Jerry Jones and the front office made in free agency this past offseason.
But Jones and Co. did make some acquisitions that after three games, have proven to be great moves. So let’s take a moment to recognize some of the good Jones did in the offseason.
Fans not happy with Jones
The Cowboys parted ways with a handful of talented players after last year. Fans are almost always upset with the decisions Jones makes, but he’s been under more fire than ever by Cowboys media and fans.
Dallas traded Amari Cooper to the Cleveland Browns for a fifth round draft pick. Jones also let Cedrick Wilson walk in free agency and he would sign with the Miami Dolphins. Cooper and Wilson ranked second and fourth, respectively, in receiving yards for the Cowboys last season.
Dallas also lost Randy Gregory to the Denver Broncos, and released La’el Collins who eventually signed with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Losing four starters in a single offseason can be crippling to a roster. But Jones has made some moves that to be paying off big time.
The rookies have balled out
Tyler Smith was Dallas’ first round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft. Smith played left tackle at Tulsa, but was expected to start the season at left guard.
But after Tyron Smith tore his hamstring just two weeks ahead of the season opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the rookie was forced into starting at LT.
Smith has exceeded expectations just three weeks into the season. According to PFF, Smith has allowed just one sack in 194 snaps. The rookie has been flagged three times on the year, but some growing pains are to be expected.
Smith has proven to be a talented run blocker. His athleticism was on full display in this play against the New York Giants:
After going undrafted, tight end Peyton Hendershot has proven to be a strong signing for the Cowboys. The former Indiana Hoosier was on the field for only 3% of Dallas’ offensive snaps in Week 1 and 11% in Week 2.
That number grew to 59% in Week 3 in the absence of Dalton Schultz. Despite getting 15 fewer snaps than fellow rookie Jake Ferguson, Hendershot was able to outplay his teammate.
Hendershot had three catches for 43 yards while Ferguson caught two passes for 13 yards. This was the highlight of the night for Hendershot:
Free agency signings have made impacts
The Cowboys signed a pair of kickers to compete for the starting job in the preseason, and Brett Maher came out on top. Cowboys fans were none too pleased about this because Maher was previously cut by Dallas in 2019 after hitting only 66.7% of his field goals in 13 games in 2019.
But Maher has been nails so far in 2022. He’s hit 6/7 field goal tries and has made all four point after attempts.
Jason Peters signed with Dallas after news broke on Tyron Smith’s injury. Peters was initially going to come in at LT if Tyler Smith was struggling, but the rookie has more than held his own in the first three games.
So Peters and Matt Farniok rotated drives at LG during the Giants game. Farniok got a majority of the snaps with 50 while Peters took only 14 snaps. But when Peters played, he and Smith did an excellent job anchoring the left side of the offensive line.
It’s possible we see more playing time for Peters in Week 4 vs the Washington Commanders as he continues working with the offense in practice this week.
Dallas signed wide receiver and return specialist KaVonate Turpin out of the USFL this offseason. Turpin was the league’s MVP in 2021 and is a threat to make a play every time he touches the ball.
He’s gotten limited chances to make an impact in Weeks 1 and 2, but had a big play against New York:
That return gave the Cowboys excellent field position and helped Maher drill a field goal to make it a two-possession game late in the fourth quarter. Turpin is bound to find the endzone soon if kickers keep putting the ball in his hands.
Maybe Jones deserves flowers
It was frustrating to see some talented players leave Dallas for new teams this offseason. But Jones has definitely made some wise roster moves that have already paid off after only three games.
Of course, Jones is bound to frustrate fans as the season progresses. Just last week he riled up the media by making comments about a potential QB battle between Cooper Rush and Dak Prescott.
But that’s just Jerry being Jerry.