Dec 16, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys receiver Miles Austin (19) runs after a catch against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

A Look at the Dallas Cowboys Free Agents and Potential Roster in 2013

On a Dallas radio show last week, Cowboys owner and General Manager Jerry Jones said the Cowboys’ roster would have “30 percent turnover” this off-season. Considering that Dallas Cowboys currently have 18 unrestricted free agents heading into the offseason, I guess that makes sense (18 is 33 percent of 53). But as ESPN’s Dan Graziano opined, Jerry Jones plays to the fans when he conducts interviews. Still, if Jones really does decide to go through with his 30 percent turnover plan and resigns only two outgoing free agents, nine free agents will be new to the Cowboys this upcoming season, with the other seven (or maybe eight, nine or even ten depending on draft pick compensation and trade downs) coming through the draft.

I can’t imagine that Dallas Cowboys OLB Anthony Spencer will be back. As Todd Archer noted in his incredibly convenient (for my article) column, Spencer “will be one of the most sought-after FA’s should he hit the open market.” I’ll also use his table on their free agents, since I frankly can do no better. This is all him:



Archer’s analysis

LB Victor Butler Can be a situational pass rusher but not an every-down player
CB Michael Coe Late-season pickup is unlikely to be back
DE Kenyon Coleman Age and injury make his future dicey but could be a one-year guy
OG Derrick Dockery In his final days in the NFL
SS Eric Frampton Good in-season pickup, who might be worth a look next year
CB Mike Jenkins Wants a chance to start and won’t get it here
RB Felix Jones Never panned out but played hurt, so don’t rule out a return at low price
LS L.P. Ladouceur Will not cost a lot to keep and excellent at his job
Brian Moorman Decent job but Chris Jones returns next season
WR Kevin Ogletree Lost playing time as year went on, doubtful return
SS Charlie Peprah Might be worth a look in camp with injuries at position
TE John Phillips Lost playing time as year went on, but can fill number of roles
LB Brady Poppinga Great quote but will not be back in 2013
LB Ernie Sims Good pickup but future here low with returns of Sean LeeBruce Carter
LB Anthony Spencer Will be one of most sought-after FAs if he hits the open market


Archer’s analysis

Phil Costa Season lost due to injury but coaches like him a lot
SS Danny McCray Got exposed on defense but solid special teamer
DE Brian Schaefering Finding serviceable lineman is hard, could be back at low price

Nov 22, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford (70) before a play during the game against the Washington Redskins on Thanksgiving at Cowboys Stadium. The Redskins beat the Cowboys 38-31. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

I agree mostly with Archer’s  analysis save for some of the one-year guys. I can’t see DE Kenyon Coleman (age) or RB Felix Jones (unfulfilled expectations) being back with the Dallas Cowboys in 2013.  Colemen would block a spot for 2012 2ns round draft choice DE Tyrone Crawford, and Jones is simply too ineffective to be a back-up. The Cowboys should stick with RB Phillip Tanner (signed as an undrafted rookie in 2011) over Jones, or even a 2006 Julius Jones (just kidding- no one is stupid enough to think he’s an upgrade to anyone.) I’ll make two columns:  “returning” and a “leaving”. I have no idea who Brian Shaeferingis really is ( he was signed recently to try and replace DT Josh Brent), so he goes into the “leaving” column:


Phil Costa, C

Oct 14, 2012; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco (5) attempts a avoid a sack by Dallas Cowboys strong safety Danny McCray (40) in the second quarter at M

Danny McCray, S

L.P. Ladouceur, LS

Eric Frampton, S

Charlie Peprah, S

NOTE: Since I have no recollection at all of the last two, I just went by Take or Trash and decided they would return.


November 11, 2012; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Dallas Cowboys outside linebacker Victor Butler (57) sacked Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles (9) during the fourth quarter at Lincoln Financial Field. The Cowboys defeated the Eagles 38-23. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports


Victor Butler, LB

Michael Coe, CB

Kenyon Coleman, DE

Derrick Dockery, G

Mike Jenkins, CB

Felix Jones, RB

Brian Moorman,P

Kevin Ogletree, WR

John Phillips, TE

Brady Poppinga, LB

Ernie Sims, LB

Anthony Spencer, LB


So far, that’s a 24 percent turnover. If Miles Austin, Mackenzie Bernadeau and Doug Free get cut (though I’ve changed my mind since last week and have decided they probably shouldn’t), that’s 30 percent. I doubt Dallas Cowboys Jerry Jones literally meant thirty percent, and I doubt he would release two of the three, but if he is taken literally all are gone. Other options to swap into the equation include NT Jay Ratliff (highly unlikely), DE Marcus Spears (not expected but not surprising), and OL Nate Livings (if I’m in charge I do it, but for depth reasons they probably don’t). Remember that not all of the players have to be replaced, since they were added because of other players being placed on Injured Reserve.


It would make sense for the Cowboys to get, assuming no non-free agents get released:

  • Two OLB’s
  • One WR
  • One TE
  • One G
  • One DE
  • One DT (to replace Josh Brent)

These are “needs”. If the Dallas Cowboys resigned everyone else, even guys like LB Orie Lemon who will likely be placed on the practice squad. If I missed someone who should have been included, please mention it in the comments and I’ll address it.

These are “want to’s”:

  • Two Starting Guards
  • One Starting Center
  • One Running Back
  • One Wide Receiver (Dark-horse need-after Bryant, Austin and Harris, who? Cole Beasley probably. Despite the love-affair my colleagues have with him, placing total trust in a sixth-round pick and undrafted free agent isn’t wise. I do, however, think he will earn the number four spot or maybe even beat out Harris for slot receiver. I would just make sure to have a back up plan. Felix Jones looked promising his rookie season as well.)
  • One Starting DL (Not sure whether to move Jay Ratliff off of NT or not. I probably would, but either way can be justified.)
  • One Backup LB
  • One Backup CB

Not all of these needs can be met in the draft. If I was the GM of the Dallas Cowboys I would address the interior line, outside linebacker, defensive line and running back positions in the draft, and sign the others free agency-regular or look for rookies who went undrafted.

In terms of the Dallas Cowboys’ options in the 2013 NFL Draft, I have already made some revisions to my “Early Mock Draft. I will post those updates later today or tomorrow.


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Tags: Dallas Cowboys

  • californy

    There is one thing this report is lacking and that some hard numbers.It hard to get those, yesterday on a Cowboy Radio Show Mickey reported 5.8 over while Bryan reported 20 million over. They also reported that the Cowboys must under the Cap amount by 3-12-13 mandated by the NFL for 51 players. I will give you some hard number, you can add -5 miilion to the total for the Cowboy Penalty last year and it bring the boys just under 20 million. FYI if Romo contract is not redone, the boys must pay him the 16 million plus for 2013. If we are 20 million over for 2013, it for only 35 players also. Earlier on these site CowgirlCas reported the boy having 8 player account for 78 million for next year budget. What I am saying here tend to support her cap numbers. The boys are in real trouble and JJ is not giving us more option other than pushing the Cap hit into future years. Renegociation is not the answer it only delay what will happen eventually.

    • Greyson Jones

      Thanks. One thing I was confused about though was that I thought only the base salary counted against cap unless the player was released. In that case the team would have to pay back the entirety of the bonus left on the contract in the next year. I don’t know. Spotrac counts it all as one cap figure, so I have no idea whether or not that is accurate. If it is, that’s a problem, but the Cowboys also have 20m of dead money coming off of the books, so right now before Spencer they stand +2m. After him they stand +10m I believe. Any of you guys more knowledgeable on NFL cap rules please correct me if I’m wrong. Thanks for responding though!

      • Cowgirlcas22

        no all bonus money goes against the cap too. Also JJ restructured a lot of contracts and sent signing bonus in to the future. What that means it’s time to pay the piper cuz the backloaded contracts are now due.

        • Greyson Jones

          As I have done more research I’ve come to discover that everything that’s not Sportrac is wrong. In hind sight probably needed more research…

          • Cowgirlcas22

            currently JJ is about $20mil over the cap without signing Spencer. Looks like Romo plans to move on. If he doesnt do a new deal by Mar 12th the $16 mil he is owed will all go against this yrs cap. NTM Carr is due a huge check over 10mil this yr too. a hand full of players, Romo, Carr, Free, Rat, Witten, Ware, etc count about $78 mil against the 2013 126mil cap. Including bonus and base salary. to put it lightly: JJ is screwed. especially if Romo moves. The new defense and losing romo will really hurt this draft. There is already talk that he needs to draft a QB now. lets face it, cowboys fans need another option if they want anyone to cheer for in the post season.

          • C. Joseph Wright

            Do you really think Jones would let Romo leave? If they lose Romo, that would signal a plan to officially “re-build”. I do think some of the high-priced veterans will be released though.

          • Cowgirlcas22

            If Tony wants to move on JJ really isn’t in a position to stop him. Can u blame him if he does? This will prob be his last contract in the NFL, I am sure he doesn’t want to spend it running for his life. The tension between him and JG is obvious and I am sure Candice has some input as well. I know I wouldn’t want to watch my husband getting peeled off the turf game after game.

          • C. Joseph Wright

            Candice works in Dallas doesn’t she?

          • Cowgirlcas22

            Candice can work pretty much anywhere she wants to. She’s got it like that

  • Truth

    Ahhhh!! Fooey…!! with all this cap-n-not, lol. But yes, Jerry-Jay-Junebug at his best once again….