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Team checklist: Dallas Cowboys

Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones, Tom Ciskowski AP

The Cowboys draft didn’t do a lot to address their defensive needs.  Their top defensive pick — linebacker Bruce Carter — is coming off a torn ACL and figures to be fourth on the depth chart at inside linebacker.

That means Jerry Jones is going to be active when free agency starts again.  Here’s what we think they should do when the lockout ends.

1. Find a starting safety or two.

The Cowboys plan to move Alan Ball to cornerback.  Gerald Sensabaugh is a free agent. That leaves Barry Church and, um, Danny McCray as the top two safeties on the roster.  Yikes.

Dallas may bring Sensabaugh back and sign a high priced free agent like Michael Huff.  This position needs a lot of help.

2. Fix defensive end depth.

We thought end was Dallas’ second biggest need in the draft, and they didn’t wind up with a player at the position. A lot depends here on the NFL rules put in place.  Dallas could retain Stephen Bowen and Jason Hatcher with restricted free agent tenders if 2010 rules come back.

If not, the Cowboys are going to have to spend a lot of money to find a starter and a capable backup or two.  This position was a weak point last year in Dallas and the Cowboys may overpay just to maintain the status quo.

3. Cut Marion Barber.

We thought we’d give Jones an easy one to complete.  With DeMarco Murray on the roster behind Felix Jones and Tashard Choice, this is a no brainer.

4. Re-sign Doug Free.

We’re not so sure this one will be easy, although VP Stephen Jones called it the team’s top priority.

The Cowboys seem to be banking on Free’s return, but the 27-year-old is coming off a strong season at left tackle and could interest a lot of teams.  Dallas wants to pair Free with Tyron Smith, their first-round pick.    They don’t want to go back to Marc Colombo as a starter again.

5. Don’t overspend too badly.

Jerry Jones had this to say about the lack of defensive holes plugged in April:

“[Rob Ryan] knew the ones he was interested in went early and what that does is put pressure on us to get the free agents.”

That comment should excite agents and scare Cowboys fans.

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25 Responses to “Team checklist: Dallas Cowboys”
  1. Land Snark says: May 23, 2011 4:03 PM

    Trading away their entire draft for Roy Williams (#11) set the team back in a bad way.

    They’re still reeling from that ill fated choice.

    It may take another two decent drafts to rebound from it.

  2. sprest83 says: May 23, 2011 4:06 PM

    I don’t have many issues with this list, but I would add:

    cut/trade list:

    Cut Marc Colombo
    Cut Terrance Newman – and sign Asomugha
    Cut Roy Williams…dead weight

  3. sprest83 says: May 23, 2011 4:07 PM

    Although, Marc Colombo as a backup might be tolerable for a year…but his salary is big for a backup.

  4. dccowboy says: May 23, 2011 4:23 PM

    Land Snark says: May 23, 2011 4:03 PM

    Trading away their entire draft for Roy Williams (#11) set the team back in a bad way.

    They’re still reeling from that ill fated choice.

    It may take another two decent drafts to rebound from it.

    ================

    Wow, amazing. I had no idea that the NFL changed the rules and there are only two rounds to the draft anymore, a 1st and a 3rd round.

  5. blackheld says: May 23, 2011 4:27 PM

    Sure…cut Roy Williams. Let Detroit re-sign him, where he thrived opposite Calvin Johnson, and then the Cowboys will have given away all those draft picks for…nothing…and worse, Detroit can laugh at Jerry Jones literally forever.

    Seriously, Detroit needs a third wide out, and Williams played very well when he was there. Pulling Jerrah’s chain only makes it sweeter.

  6. dccowboy says: May 23, 2011 4:28 PM

    LOL, not having issues with “don’t overspend too badly” and ‘sign Ashumoga’ appear to be contradictory since Ashumoga stands to become the highest paid defensive player in the league.

    A wiser course would be to take the 18-20 mil/yr it will take to sign Ashumoga and use it to acquire at least three good FAs at real need positions, resigning Free, DE (Cullen Jenkins?), safety (Abram Elam, Michael Huff), OG (Gallery, Nicks, Joesph). I think that $ for $ Dallas would be a much better team spending the money on several rather than one.

  7. tombradyswig says: May 23, 2011 4:31 PM

    New GM!

  8. dirtydrynn27 says: May 23, 2011 4:38 PM

    I thought that this team was already straight!!! After all they have Miles Austin,Dez Bryant and Terrence Newman to name a few and even the elite one Tony Romo!!!! This is the most over rated and over hyped team in professional sports…They`ll probably be picked to win it all just like they were last year!!!!

  9. thompgk says: May 23, 2011 4:40 PM

    “Trading away their entire draft for Roy Williams (#11) set the team back in a bad way. ”

    Where do you get that they traded their whole draft for him?

    They traded a first, a third, and a sixth. They still took 5 players in the first 120 picks that year. Hyperbole much?

    The problem with that draft is that Dallas picked a bunch of duds.

  10. ampats says: May 23, 2011 5:24 PM

    Get a real GM as said above. Jerry Jones is the reson this team continues to underachieve. Their greatest success was when they had a strong HC, Johnson & Parcells who would not let JJ continue to make stupid decisions.

    Has anyone heard from Vox, he must of went the banned route or someone finally put him out of his misery.

  11. bhindenemylines says: May 23, 2011 6:03 PM

    “Sure…cut Roy Williams.”

    Doesn’t make much sense. He counts @ $12.9 million against the cap, whether he is on the team or not.

    Yeah, that’s a lot for a 3rd receiver, but paying him that much to sit home and play Xbox is too stupid for even Jerry Jones.

    They had a chance to cut him without any cap hits in 2010 and kept him.

    Plus with the injury to Dez, Roy is at least a good insurance policy.

    Roy will be a Cowboy in 2011. After that, who knows.

  12. upperdecker19 says: May 23, 2011 6:33 PM

    6. Obtain permits for temporary stadium seating…..

  13. tommy972 says: May 23, 2011 6:44 PM

    Not sure if anyone watched much of the early Cowboy games but Roy Williams started the season pretty well. He also had the game winner against the Redskins if not for that holding call.

  14. cwt123 says: May 23, 2011 6:58 PM

    Sign Asomugha and Huff. We’ll have to over-pay for these two players, but they’re well worth the money.

    Last year proved that without a sound secondary, won’t compete in our pass-happy league.

    Whether you like the Cowboys or not, adding just a couple pieces to the puzzle may get them over the top.

  15. cowboysfan18 says: May 23, 2011 7:20 PM

    @ dccowboy

    While I agree with some of your points, you completely butchered his name. “Ashumoga”, really? It’s clearly spelled Ashumahogony!

  16. manofaiki says: May 23, 2011 7:36 PM

    We need to remember that in 2009, the Cowboys had one of the top-performing defenses in the league. They finished 2nd in points allowed right behind the Jets.

    For the 2010 disaster of a defensive meltdown, consider there was only 1 new starter on the field – S Alan Ball.

    So……it seems clear to many observers the problem with the team was that of COACHING, not personnel. He may have thought he still had control of this team and was getting it ready to play, especially on the defensive side of the ball, but the results showed Wade really wasn’t getting it done.

    Halfway through the season at 1-7, Jason Garrett took over as Head Coach with Paul Pasqueloni taking over as DC and Dallas went 5-3 over the second half, with each of the 3 losses coming by 3, 3, and 1 points – a total of 7 points combined.

    No, the problem was NOT personnel. Wade simply wasn’t doing enough with what he had on defense. This is why the Cowboys front office puts a lot of stock in the idea that Rob Ryan coming in with a new attitude and a new scheme for that defense will get it back to playing like it did in 2009.

    For this reason Garrett decided to go mostly offense with this draft and begin fixing the Oline, taking 3 OLinemen, a RB and a FB.

    If Ryan has the impact that is expected, Garrett’s gamble will pay off.

  17. txhc says: May 23, 2011 7:51 PM

    “dccowboy says:
    May 23, 2011 4:28 PM
    LOL, not having issues with “don’t overspend too badly” and ‘sign Ashumoga’ appear to be contradictory since Ashumoga stands to become the highest paid defensive player in the league.”

    Asomugha is not going to be the highest defensive player in the league. Stop it.

  18. thefiesty1 says: May 23, 2011 9:05 PM

    It really doesn’t matter what they need. Jones will screw it up no matter who the CowBabies put on the field.

  19. 1bigtex says: May 23, 2011 9:46 PM

    @thefiesty1

    Wait a minute, but don’t you root for one of the Ohio teams? The room you have to talk wouldn’t amount to a small closet.

  20. bringbacktheflex says: May 24, 2011 12:44 PM

    A friend of mine and I debate this all the time: Improve the pass rush and go with and OK secondary, or get a shut down corner and keep OK pass rush.

    His position is a shut down corner cuts a third of the field off the QBs list.

    My position is, that does nothing to keep the QB from having all day to go to his second, third and fourth reads. It also doesn’t force INTs or fumbles. An improved pass rush does all those things. Get a top pass rusher opposite Ware (or someone kick Spencer in the ‘nads to get him going) and get some speed in the secondary (safety). That’s much better than just taking ONE guy out of the picture.

  21. stevecmh says: May 25, 2011 12:32 AM

    @manofaiki

    You are right on target about Wade Phillips performance.

    He had some two good years in Dallas (2007 & 2009) but two bad years also (2008 & 2010). His teams typically finished the season poorly and had little momentum if they made the playoffs.

    Surprisingly for a defensive specialist, in the bad seasons the defenses were more disappointing than the offenses. He coached the team to a pair of embarrassing losses at the end of 2008 in which they gave up 78 points, including a pathetic performance versus Baltimore in the last game at Texas Stadium.

    Finally, the team finished strong in 2009, had a winning December record to seize the division title, and followed that up with a playoff win for the first time since 1996.

    Then, the 2010 debacle began. In the end, Phillips’ lack of strategic vision, poor game management, reactive rather than proactive approach, and lackadaisical leadership style caught up with him. It seemed to me that he let the game happen without taking decisive action to influence the outcome in his team’s favor.

  22. orakpwnd1983 says: Jun 16, 2011 4:56 PM

    Whats funny is that as a Skins fan, we know we are bad…But Cowboys fans…they don’t even recognize they are worse.

  23. chico54 says: Jun 24, 2011 11:08 AM

    sorry orakpwnd1983 – skins are still the worst team in the east not by much we are getting closer but please hows Hayneworth, Mcnabb doing this year. Also you know Snyder comment that he has washed his hands of running the skins is just an excuse for when the team sucks this year, he can say see it wasn’t me. Both teams are a joke but please I live now in the DC area and everyone thinks the skins are gonna go 500 or better. Some of us cowboys fans know until we get a real gm we will be pretenders. Skins fan think the shanahans are gonna fix them. I don’t think so.

  24. 1historian says: Jul 16, 2011 9:07 PM

    Jerry Jones is the next Al Davis and he doesn’t even know it.

  25. dallasbaby says: Jul 25, 2011 1:46 PM

    I’m excited that the lockout is finally coming to an end, and that we will have football this fall.

    Then I remembered all the issues that are staring my team in the face, and it made me realize how dreadfully long this season will likely be for a hardcore Cowboy fan. Eager for free agency to begin and see if we can’t stop the bleeding a little bit.

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