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.

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