Three teams in our Swampland Footprint definitely have national fan bases and looked to make a splash during free agency and the draft. The Dallas Cowboys made their news on the first night of the draft, while the Miami Dolphins and Washington Redskins dominated the headlines with their pre-draft trades and free-agent signings. Each organization likes attention and feels a need to satisfy their loyal fans, and they all made significant moves towards competing for the postseason in 2010.
Dallas is already a Playoff team with a dangerous offense, and they only got better with the selection of Dez Bryant with the 24th pick of the first round. Many NFL experts considered the Oklahoma State receiver a Top 5 talent, so the Cowboys got great value by taking the Lufkin native where they did. With a stable of solid running backs and Bryant to complement Miles Austin, quarterback Tony Romo should have enough weapons to lead another NFC East title.
The Redskins have struggled over the last few seasons to catch their division brethren, but they made huge news this offseason. It all started with the hire of two-time Super Bowl winner Mike Shanahan, as owner Dan Snyder continues to try and fix his inconsistent franchise. Washington then made more headlines with the acquisition of longtime Philadelphia quarterback. Donovan McNabb. The much maligned (by overbearing Eagles fans only) McNabb led Philadelphia to five of the last nine NFC Championship games, somewhere Washington has not been since 1991. Snyder may get impatient with all of his free agent signings and trading of draft picks, but he is always trying to bring a winner to the nation’s capital.
Miami also made big news before the draft with their acquisition of Pro Bowl wide receiver Brandon Marshall. The Dolphins ended the Ted Ginn experiment by trading him to San Francisco, and they brought in a proven receiver who had 101 catches and 10 touchdowns in Denver last season. Quarterback Chad Henne will now have a top-flight target to go with a physical running game as Miami tries to repeat their 2008 success.
The fan bases of the Cowboys, Redskins and Dolphins have waited a long time for their popular franchises to return to the Super Bowl. Each organization improved its team this offseason with big-time acquisitions and made huge headlines in the process.