Freedom’s Just Another Word for Nothing [Much] to Lose

An interesting fact emerges from this chart of available NFL free agents.

Almost all the players cut loose by the Cowboys in the last 12 months have yet to find employers.

Offensive linemen Leonard Davis, Kyle Kosier, Andre Gurode, Derrick Dockery, and Montrae Holland are all available.  Marc Colombo has retired.

Bradie James has landed in Houston, but he’s likely a backup, if he survives camp.  Keith Brooking appears done.

Terence Newman is getting a shot with Mike Zimmer, but Alan Ball and Frank Walker are looking for work.  So is Abram Elam.

Laurent Robinson is the only Cowboys free agent to land a multi-year deal this spring.  Martellus Bennett, like Newman and James, had to settle for a low-base, one-year deal.

The 2011 Cowboys had a lot of old hands on their roster.  Several, Kosier, Holland, Dockery, James, Brooking, Newman, Elam and Walker, all started for long stretches of the season.

We can debate how much the Cowboys have gained in free agency and the draft, but it appears the team has not exactly lost very much this off-season.

Rafael Vela

Rafael Vela

Senior Analyst Cowboys at Sports Talk Line
Started covering Dallas Cowboys @ in '95 and '96. Two more stops along the way and here I am. Senior Analyst for
Rafael Vela

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  • Austonianaggie


  • Mark21hdz

    diamond in the rough or just a fast jag you tell me.

  • Leswung

    “Offensive linemen Leonard Davis, Kyle Kosier, Andre Gurode, Derrick Dockery, and Montrae Holland are all available. Marc Colombo has retired.”
    does it mean Romo has been protected w these “almost unemployed”s and “almost retiree”?  poor Romo! the MVP of the Cowboys.
    andddddddddddd… they got rid of the only “proven” player: Mr.Robinson.
    JJ don’t mind spending lots of money but seems very very ‘unwise’!

    • Jarhead

      add flo and thats the unit that melted down twice with a visit to the NFC CS game on the line.

      And with the exception of tyron smith, there are only average to below average players remaining on the unit.

      their only upside to the list of jobless guys above is that they are younger and perhaps more willing to work their asses off to prove themselves.

      but talent level is talent level and dallas commited itself to two huge upgrades this offseason (two CBs) and alot of……….what we’re not sure.

      One thing i am sure of: Romo, Felix Jones, and D. Murray have their work cut out for them this year. i doubt any of them play an entire season without injury, although romo has shown he’ll stay on the field until he has to be carried off, how long will that last?

      In the last 15 years, only two NFC teams have not made it to the CS game. Dallas and Washington.

      Dallas has been up and down on offense and defense in those years, but there are two constants: Jerry Jones and an average offensive line.

      • desus32

        I’m not yet ready to claim Doug Free is average to below average. Last year he gutted through back issues and it was obvious he was not up to his previous standards on many Sunday’s. The guy from two seasons ago was an above average (but not quite pro-bowl level) OT and is now moving back to the right side where he’ll face fewer elite pass rushers. I’m anticipating a return to prior form for Free.

        • truecowboyfan

           I totally agree. He played well in 2009 and 2010, but had a down year in 2011. But overall, I consider him to be an above average NFL tackle and would not be surprised to see him make the pro bowl one of these year.

      • MadMick

        Can the sorry O-line really even be blamed for how injury prone Uncle Felix has been? Haven’t most of his injuries occurred down the field finishing runs and/or the result of him just plain pulling up lame? His season-ender as a rookie definitely occurred out in space and was just a freak thing.

        It makes it all the more strange now to look back and think how one of the knocks/cons of picking a guy like Ray Rice was that he logged over 900 carries in three years at Rutgers and how that might limit the useful mileage you got out of him as a pro. And the biggest pro  to picking Felix was he had less than half of Rice’s touches as a collegiate back.

        Inexact science indeed.

        • truecowboyfan

           That is a great observation. I’m a big Felix Jones fan, but looking back at the 2008 draft, the idea to use a 1st round pick on a complementary back was flawed, given the talent at RB in that particular draft. I guess its easy for me to say that now, though.

          • kameleon_o

            I wouldn’t call it hindsight. A lot of us said it then too

  • Samoyed

    I think we’re missing an epic point here.  The main reason why Dallas has been so reluctant to dismiss fading Stars has very little to do with lack of player evaluation…at least…this is my spin on it:

    It’s not underachievers versus overacheivers…although the idea does have some merit.  It’s not an issue of a top heavy roster either…although that’s a product of the larger problem.  It’s loyalty.  Simple, plain, blind loyalty.  Jerry attracts players to his franchise due to the way he treats his players.  If you’re in, then you’re in.  Do the right things, say the right things, and generally give a damn…and Jerry will have your back.  This is one of the primary reasons why Dallas is perceived (by players) as an elite destination…despite years of mediocrity.  But, there’s a rusty edge to this two-sided sword.  Jerry will keep you…far past your prime…even if it hurts the team…if you’ve been a good soldier.  I could rail off a whole littany of players who fit the description.  But, to sum it up, Jerry is the anti-Belichick.  if you want to name the biggest problem with this franchise since 1996, then this is my #1 candidate.  Sadly, Jerry’s loyalty is a commendable quality.  If he was my boss, then I’d love him.  But, football is not real life.  Further, running a successful franchise necessitates a cold-hearted approach.  Garrett and Stephen get it.  The absolutely Herculean task of winning Jerry over to the dark side has been an epic battle of wills.  And, in the past season, we have finally seen some tangible results that suggest that inroads have been made in Jerry’s blind loyalty problem.  Ironically, I believe it all started with TO.  And, if this is true, then we all owe him a debt of gratitude.  Imagine that.  So..there it is.  My WAG  on the true problem with the Dallas Cowboys.  In fact, I’m giving myself another Homer:

    • nightspook

      Well stated!  Being loyal to a fault is still a fault.  I believe Arkin, Nagy (pronounced “naj” with a soft “a” .. it is Hungarian) and Kowalski are the measuring sticks for our replacment plan.   So far a work in progress is the best one can say.  Fingers crossed here.  At the end of the day, I am a fan.   

    • oskieoskie

      I think we are starting to see more influence from Stephen and Garrett on ol’ Jerry. That is a very good thing.

    • Taylor

      When JJ reupped Nate and allowed Ron Stone to leave in FA, I thought uh oh.  Then Haley resigned with a bad back, Erik Williams kept on after he couldn’t bend his knees, Deion after he couldn’t run—you may be on to something.

      • MadMick

        At least that was over-sentimentality towards guys who actually contributed to championship squads. The most harmful thing about that big tease ’07 regular season is how it warped Jerry’s perception that all the pieces were in place to get close to the Super Bowl every season from there on out. 

        Or worse that the other Roy would get them over the top once things weren’t going so great the following season.

  • Tim

    Good points, all.

    I’m optimistic that the culture is changing with smarter, tougher player profiles. Lots of team captains and hard workers who hopefully won’t lay down late in games and late in seasons. I’m so sick of that crap.

  • fivetwos

    This team has improved incredibly since the end of last season.

    I still can’t believe they pulled off the Claiborne thing.

    Haven’t been this excited about a draft pick since…probably Aikman.

    He thinks the ball is his when in the air, and for all of his talent, is humble and hard-working..and that’s just the beginning.

    What an impact having him will have on the front seven…and the rest of the team…and the standings for that matter. 

  • The Cowboys have been stars and scrubs and they hold onto their stars too long.  Same as every year.  It seems the Garrett administration is giving the tree a much-needed shake to clear out the dead branches.

    Cutting the players that need to get cut is only half the battle, and the easier half.  The hard part is finding the right guys to replace them.  We’ll see if Garrett is up for that challenge this season.

  • Brj47

    that’s because this team has had some pretty strong high end players.  Problem is that the folks surrounding those *star* players have been pretty lame.  Additionally, it would be nice to actually have a decent O line.  I’ve quit hoping for a good O line; I’d be happy with average.

    • nightspook

      You espouse my fears.  The O Line.  Thinking good thoughts here.  Then again, we havn’t played a pre-season game yet.  Best time for good thoughts eh?

  • Os B

    Yet according to many media outlets, this has been one of the most talented teams in the league: chronic underachievers.

    • I hear you.  It’s more the one really good player next to one really bad player.  Those replacement level guys can bring their unit down.

      • nightspook

        Got my sheep entrails, rabbit foot and Queen Rita (lives in Cajun country) on speed dial.  No bad luck here mon.  Gon shake dem bonz and say good by to all dat bad mojo.  Only good replacements!  Ohmmmmmmm Ohhmmmmm  (hey ,,, if it works everyone will be doing it!) 

        And I checked.  It all went bad for the Saints when they missed a payment to Rita.  You got to pay the JuJu woman or she gets upset!

      • David Lusk

        I believe it’s been whole lot of “stars and scrubs” as far as the team makeup.  I’m not worried steak on every plate, I’m worried that there has been spam on too many plates, and nothing much in between spam and steak.

    • Montecito Tex

      Romole fuels that entire perception of an allegedly talented, under-achieving, December-fading, characterless squad all by himself… and the glove fits.

      • nightspook

        Other than the obvious  (a seeming, personal disklike of Romo) it is generaly agreed he is the answer versus the problem.  The obverse of those who are so obsessed they can’t see our team while wearing those wagon-mule-blinders.  Like looking at a game and (mistakenly) thinking one play by the QB is the entire difference.  This is a team sport like no other.

        Kool-Aid-Vendors are one problem,  Vinegar-Vendors are the other.  I like my refreshment the same as excellent beer.  Room temp, full of body with excellent charecteristics.  Much like the informaiton put forth by this site.  Heck, exactly like the information put forth by this site (why quibble). 

        I can hardly wait for the day when Dieon Sanders has to swallow his “take” on the Cowboys.  Of course for that to happen we need to hoist “that” trophy.  Agreed that is the measuring stick.  Going deep into the playoffs is the first step.

        Go Cowboys!

      • Jimmer

        I enjoy Tex’s posts. No need to let facts get in the way of a good argument. I also enjoy when he logs in and out to add likes to his comments. #funny

  • chum

    Great point.