Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Top Priorities After the Lockout Ends

It is sounding more and more like the NFL lockout will be over within the next few weeks if not sooner. That means that the Cowboys will need to get to work on their roster in the near future. Since free agency hasn't taken place yet there are some major concerns that the Cowboys will need to address as soon as the NFL is open for business.

1. Resign Doug Free. The Cowboys can't afford to lose Doug Free. They drafted Tyron Smith but the intention is to start him at right tackle. Marc Colombo will probably be cut as soon as the offseason officially begins. That means that the Cowboys can't afford to lose Doug Free because they basically have no alternative.

2. Resign Gerald Sensabaugh. Stephen Jones made it clear before the draft that the Cowboys intend to move Alan Ball back to cornerback next season. That leaves the Cowboys without either of their starting safeties from last season if they don't bring Sensabaugh back. I'm expecting them to bring back Sensabaugh and go after one of the top free agent safeties.

3. Resign at least two defensive ends. Marcus Spears, Stephen Bowen and Jason Hatcher are going to be free agents most likely depending on the system the players and owners agree to. That leaves the Cowboys with Igor Olshansky and that is basically it. There aren't a lot of 3-4 ends coming available in free agency so the Cowboys need to focus on resigning their own guys. They need to bring back at least two of the three. I would like to see Spears and Bowen return but any two of the three would suffice.

4. Sign a free safety. Last season proved that the Cowboys don't have a free safety capable of starting on the current roster. They shouldn't break the bank to land a safety, but they can't risk the season on plugging in another one of the untested young safeties on the roster.

5. Cut Marion Barber. The Cowboys drafted Demarco Murray so they have four running backs. Barber's performance does not justify his bloated contract. Throw in some behavioral issues and his departure seems certain.

I can't explain how nice it is to actually be able to think about roster moves again. I know the lockout isn't over but it really seems like we are getting close to the end of this thing. The Cowboys have a lot of work to do when the league year gets started.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Are We Close to Getting Football Back?

The latest news is that the owners and players are meeting once again to try to negotiate a new deal to get the NFL operational again. I really don't care who "wins" this thing. I just want the offseason to get going again. It has been a struggle to stay engaged in the day to day NFL courtroom battles because that isn't what draws me to the NFL.

I miss hearing how the draft picks are developing. I miss free agency. I miss the new found hope for next season that is usually coursing through my veins at this point in the summer. The sooner the league gets back in action the sooner I can become completely consumed with it again.

I hope the players and owners realize how much they have alienated their fan base. I consider myself one of the most hardcore type of fans. I live and die with my team. But I have found myself becoming indifferent as the lockout drags on. While there is no doubt I'll be 100% committed to the Cowboys and the NFL as soon as the lockout ends I do wonder about the casual fan. Will they be so quick to forgive? I think so since most of the people who are missing football right now are the hardcore type of fan.

I hope we are nearing the end of this ridiculous battle over the money that the fans provide to the game we love. It amazes me how both the players and owners are willing to turn off the fan base who provides, directly or indirectly, the entire revenue stream for the league. They better be careful dragging this thing out or the pie they are fighting over is going to start shrinking.

If a deal can be worked out in the next few weeks then we will at least get a full training camp and preseason followed by a 16 game regular season. I am ready for free agency to get started. And I am ready for my team to get back to work at Valley Ranch.