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


Victor Butler

Can be a situational pass rusher but not an every-down playerCB

Michael Coe

Late-season pickup is unlikely to be backDE

Kenyon Coleman

Age and injury make his future dicey but could be a one-year guyOG

Derrick Dockery

In his final days in the NFLSS

Eric Frampton

Good in-season pickup, who might be worth a look next yearCB

Mike Jenkins

Wants a chance to start and won’t get it hereRB

Felix Jones

Never panned out but played hurt, so don’t rule out a return at low priceLS L.P. LadouceurWill not cost a lot to keep and excellent at his jobP

Brian Moorman

Decent job but

Chris Jones

returns next seasonWR

Kevin Ogletree

Lost playing time as year went on, doubtful returnSS

Charlie Peprah

Might be worth a look in camp with injuries at positionTE

John Phillips

Lost playing time as year went on, but can fill number of rolesLB

Brady Poppinga

Great quote but will not be back in 2013LB

Ernie Sims

Good pickup but future here low with returns of

Sean Lee


Bruce Carter

LB Anthony SpencerWill 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 lotSS

Danny McCray

Got exposed on defense but solid special teamerDE

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

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

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.