Moving into an uncapped 2010 season--this barring a new CBA deal, which seems highly doubtful at this juncture--a slew of new restrictions on the free agency period have been put into place by the league, intended, obviously, to keep some semblance of parity in the game.
Beyond that, Dallas's victory over Philadelphia in the wild card round of the playoff ensured that they would be among the final eight, a designation that only constrains teams looking for talent in free agency more.
But despite all this, Jerry Jones said recently that the team will remain highly active in the free agent markets this offseason, in order to upgrade talent at certain, albeit unnamed by Jerry, positions.
"We will continue to be very aggressive in trying to find talented players that fit us even better than maybe one that we have now," Jones said. "We’ll be very aggressive about that."
This comes as no surprise. One gets the feeling that, aside from winning and building gaudy stadiums, this wheeling and dealing is the part of being an owner and general manager Jones loves most. So what's to be done about those restrictions?
Well it's doubtful that any signing this off-season will make significant waves on SportsCenter. As a final eight team, Dallas may only sign one free agent for a first-year salary of $4.925 million, plus the annual percentage increases in total football revenue since 2006--a figure Tim MacMahon of ESPNDallas puts at an estimated $5.5 million.
If the monotony of the last sentence hasn't already scared the reader away, this means that a truly high-profile free agent signing is doubtful. This does not mean, however, that Dallas can't upgrade. They are permitted to sign an unlimited number of free agents at less than $3.7 million a year, which, as MacMahon points out, is more than the price paid for 2009 difference-makers Keith Brooking and Gerald Sensabaugh.
Basically, there's no reason to believe Dallas can't remain "aggressive," and make some upgrades in free agency. They just might have to get a bit creative to do so.