All-In? Stephen Jones Explains Why Cowboys Didn’t Pursue Derrick Henry in Free Agency

    Despite their "all-in" claims, the Dallas Cowboys once again were left explaining why they didn't go after some of the top free agents, including Derrick Henry.

    All-Pro running back Derrick Henry lives in the Dallas area. The potential to stay at home during his free agency run was certainly on the star runner’s mind.

    It didn’t happen, though. Henry ended up signing a contract with the Baltimore Ravens, detailing the Dallas Cowboys‘ lack of interest as a reason why he didn’t join the hometown team. The news might have sent shockwaves throughout the Cowboy fandom just mere weeks after their owner, Jerry Jones, stated they were “all-in” for the 2024 NFL season.

    Now, instead of their all-in talk, the Jones family has had to explain the moves the team has chosen not to make this offseason.

    Cowboys Executives Explain Lack of Free Agent Moves, Derrick Henry Pursuit

    In an interview on The Pivot Podcast in April, Henry admitted to the Cowboys never expressing interest in signing him in free agency, despite their need at the RB position and the former Tennessee Titan describing them as an ideal fit.

    “They ain’t holla at me at all,” said Henry when asked if the Cowboys pursued him in free agency.

     

    Stephen Jones may not be his father, but the Cowboys’ CEO and Director of Player Personnel has had to explain that while Jerry’s comments may have been based on their current core, it doesn’t reflect the business plan Dallas is working with.

    Talking to Adam Schein on Mad Dog Sports Radio, the longtime leader of the Cowboys’ draft war room stated that the team’s lack of interest in Henry — and other free agents as a whole — has everything to do with Dallas’ salary cap situation.

    “First of all, nothing but respect for Derrick Henry. He’s had one of the great careers in this league,” Jones said. “Our situation is just, and no one ever wants to say it, but it’s salary cap.”

    Dallas has just $5 million of salary cap space entering the month of May. They also have to focus on long-term extensions for top players like wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, EDGE Micah Parsons, and quarterback Dak Prescott.

    By the time those contract extensions are taken into account, the Cowboys may have even less money to play with.

    “We just didn’t have the money to allocate to that position in terms of where we are in a cap situation. We didn’t have those types of resources or we would’ve already had it filled.”

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    Jones later explained the team was looking to be more “efficient” with how they pay running backs in the future but also stated the team didn’t want to lose former fourth-round pick Tony Pollard or former All-Pro running back Ezekiel Elliott the year prior.

    Despite their potential need at the position, the Cowboys appear comfortable moving forward with the group and money that has been currently allocated to them.

    Cowboys’ Running Back Depth Chart

    Despite the team’s lack of aggression at the position, the Cowboys have made some free agent additions to their RB room. Elliott has returned to the team, and Royce Freeman was also brought in to run behind Dallas’ young offensive line.

    However, none of these players have Henry’s skill set or other top-available running backs.

    With the organization making multiple draft selections along the offensive line, Dallas is trusting its process of finding talent in the draft as a way to minimize the expectation for their current running back room.

    Outside of Elliott and Freeman, the Cowboys are welcoming back Rico Dowdle and Deuce Vaughn to the fold. Dowdle was good in spurts last season while Vaughn barely saw the field.

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    There will be a ton of questions the Cowboys have to answer about their RB room, but it appears minimizing the overall cost of the position was the biggest goal.

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