We are in full-blown off-season mode now, it’s onto free agency and the draft for the Dallas Cowboys. As we’ve mentioned here before, it begins from within for the Cowboys and there are a ton of decisions that need to be made.
Here at cowboysnation.com, we’re going to kick off the fun by giving the moves the team should make as the process is about to begin.
1. Trade Tony Romo: Releasing the veteran quarterback back isn’t in the cards and the trade talk will heat up at the combine. At worst, get a third round pick for Romo (they could get higher) and let the sentimental tears flow for a player who held together the franchise for years. Jerry Jones always likes extra draft picks and that’s exactly what he’ll get for trading Romo.
2. Open up cap space: Romo’s absence will save some cash, as will signing Jason Witten to an extension and cutting Tyrone Crawford’s pay. Figure on some nifty cap work from Stephen Jones to open up some money too.
3. Re-sign Barry Church, Brandon Carr and Terrell McClain: These are the best of the unrestricted bunch and the Cowboys should be able to afford to keep them. Short deals for Carr and McClain, perhaps a bit longer for Church, and move on.
4. Sign a #2 WR: There will be a bunch out there, two of them come from the rival Washington Redskins. The preference would be DeSean Jackson, give him a three-year deal with incentives to stay on the field. He’s a true homerun threat who could open up this offense, if the team is willing to spend some money. Jackson wouldn’t cost a ton, but he wouldn’t be cheap either. This is a longshot and a position the Cowboys probably address in the draft, but something worth doing. Also like Cordarrelle Patterson as a Plan B, and cheaper.
5. Sign a pass rusher: Look, it’s probably not going to be JPP or Melvin Ingram, but they need to address edge rusher. DeMarcus Ware is probably a longshot, but if he’s calling his own shots, Dallas would favor heavily in the mix. He’s not a full-time player anymore, so that could help the price as well.
6. Re-sign Jonathan Cooper: The Cowboys cannot trust La’el Collins at guard and they should keep Doug Free. Losing two members off the offensive line isn’t exactly a smart way to go about your business. Ron Leary is likely gone and Free can still play, just not at as a high level as everyone else on the line. Keeping Cooper means the team can plug him in at guard and move Collins to right tackle if Free is really done. Dallas should see what Collins has a right tackle in training camp and prepare for that possibility. Cooper allows depth and flexibility.
7. Extend Zack Martin: We all know it’s coming, maybe late in the off-season, but it will get done. Expect that Martin will be the highest paid guard in the league.
Overall, the Cowboys have gotten very strict about not paying big money in free agency and have chosen to spend their cap dollars on their own players. It has worked for the team the last few years, but spending just a little more than they have, could help Dallas in 2017.
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