Cowboys Upgrade Two Positions. Barely.
|If you can't beat 'em, steal their players. Wait. What?|
It only (let's hope) seems like the Cowboys have targeted the 0-16 Detroit Lions as the supply ship for reinforcements. After nabbing Roy (Receiver) Williams during the season, Dallas acquired backup quarterback Jon Kitna in a trade for cornerback Anthony Henry. The Cowboys - who spent the weekend improving their squad not by leaps and bounds, but rather fractions - also signed Atlanta Falcons' free-agent linebacker Keith Brooking.
Bottom line: The Cowboys are stronger at both positions this morning than they were Friday night.
But at what cost?
No doubt, Kitna is an upgrade from Brad Johnson. Of course, your granny and her plastic hip would've been better. Kitna, who torched the Cowboys for 306 yards and four touchdowns in Bill Parcells' final regular-season game as Cowboys' coach back in 2006, can still win you a game or two if Tony Romo goes down.
My problem with the deal: Dallas gave up too much, too soon.
Kitna, who'll be 37 in September, spent the last two months on injured reserve and was likely to be released by the Lions. And with quarterbacks like Byron Leftwich, Kyle Boller and Trent Green on the market, Dallas could've landed a similar player for significantly less compensation than Henry.
Smell test? The Cowboys overpaid.
Even though Henry was mediocre last year and turned our stomachs with his patting of Philadelphia Eagles' running back Correll Buckhalter on the head after a touchdown in the gruesome 44-6 defeat on Dec. 28, he did start 16 games. Swapping a starter for a guy you hope doesn't play a meaningful down is always iffy. Especially when it leaves your most depleted position, well, more depleted.
If the Cowboys rid themselves of Roy (Safety) Williams - either via trade or release - they'll have lost him, Henry and Pacman Jones from last year's secondary with only Kitna to show for it. I'd like to have seen Williams for Kitna. That would've made more sense.
As it is, the Cowboys are counting on Orlando Scandrick and Mike Jenkins next season. Of course, if they can snatch Washington Redskins' free-agent corner Shawn Springs and pair him with Terence Newman, the parting with Henry will gain clarity.
Brooking, a 33-year-old who flourished in defensive coordinator Wade Phillips' 3-4 in Atlanta, is also a slightly better fit than Zach Thomas. Neither move - Brooking nor Kitna - scares the NFC East, but they are upgrades.
Small steps, Cowboys fans. Small steps. But on the scales of balance, are the losses of Chris Canty and Kevin Burnett even bigger?