As first reported by our Mike Fisher, free-agent linebacker K.J. Wright's desire to sign with the Dallas Cowboys isn't happening.
Why not? And how wrong are the Cowboys by not "doing Wright''?Here, 10 reasons why Dallas is making a mistake:
1) If the "America's Team'' bit works on good players, the Cowboys should use that as a tool. This Dallas decision is very reminiscent of what happened a year ago with "Snacks'' Harrison telling Fish that he wanted to be a Cowboy - he has roots here and family here - and the team kicked the tires but instead added the likes of Dontari Poe.
The Cowboys, even after 25 years of being not quite good enough, still have an aura to some.
"Dallas has certainly always been on my list of 'dream teams,''' Wright tells CowboysSI.com.
That's a tool. Wright really wanted to be a Cowboy. Why not utilize that tool?
2) Dan Quinn is implementing a new defense here. K.J. Wright, 31 and a vet of Quinn's old "Legion of Boom'' teams in Seattle, could've served as a "teacher's aide'' in the process.
Wright has labeled Quinn a "defensive mastermind.'' I bet Quinn thinks the same thing about Wright. Oh well.
3) Quinn did endorse Wright inside the building. They have listened to him quite a bit. They didn't listen hard enough this time.
4) But were the Cowboys even serious? There will be naysayers who wonder if this was ever even a story. I can tell you that I'm aware of the dozens of communication in the last couple of weeks between Wright and Fish, and I can tell you that today's breaking news came to Fish from a team executive. The Cowboys considered the idea in-house, then spoke to the agent, exchanged some concepts ... and then decided against it.
Having said all of this, don't confuse "breaking'' with "surprising.''
We broke the news.
It was not our goal to "surprise'' anybody.
5) The Cowboys, per Fish's sources at The Star, believe they are loaded up with "conventional linebackers'' in Jaylon Smith and Leighton Vander Esch. ... and that Wright, solid as he is, would've been a repetitive move.
Will Jaylon be good? Will Vander Esch be healthy? I'm more dubious about that than the Cowboys front office is, I guess.
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6) Is Keanu better than K.J.? Fish's sources suggest "yes.'' ... but also "but.''
First to the "yes.''
This is a Quinn concept, so we won't scoff. But newcomer Keanu Neal is going to move from safety to be a "hybrid'' defender, primarily at linebacker - and he's going to be a better linebacker than Wright?
That seems like a stretch.
7) Now the "but'': A team source tells Fish that Neal should be viewed as a "sub-package guy.'' Like, a "specialist''? Fine. But Wright is an every-down linebacker. So where is the conflict?
The Cowboys seem to be of two minds here ... which sometimes suggest there is not even one mind at all.
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8) Did Keanu pre-empt K.J.?: In other words, had Dallas not secured the former Falcons safety, would Quinn have pushed harder, and won, on Wright? I'd suggest that would be the case. ... and while Wright can't do some of the things Neal will be asked to do, the same would've been true in reverse.
9) Do the Cowboys need leadership? QB Dak Prescott can get it done on offense. On defense? K.J. hasn't just talked "Super Bowl''; unlike the people on this roster, he's actually helped lead his team to a couple of them.
10) So ... The Cowboys are "cheap,'' right? Not exactly. The cap is $182 million, and like the other 31 teams, Dallas will spent that 2021 money. But under COO Stephen Jones, the Cowboys are tending to avoid "credit-card spending.''
That's actually responsible ... but it's also resulted in a total of 14 wins in the last two years. It is therefore not proven to be "right.''