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:

 COWBOYS FREE AGENCY SITUATION:

UNRESTRICTED FAs

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

RESTRICTED FAs

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:

EXPECTED TO RETURN

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

EXPECTED TO LEAVE

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.

 

Tags: Dallas Cowboys

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