The Cowboys aren't messing around this year. It appears that they are fully aware of what everyone else has noticed about the 2011 roster as well. There were holes all over the place. And they couldn't sit back and wait this year if they want to be a real contender next season.
After signing 4 players on Wednesday (Brandon Carr, Kyle Orton, Lawrence Vickers, Mackenzy Bernadeau) they have also added Dan Connor (ILB), Brodney Pool (S), and Nate Livings (G). That is now 7 players that are directly addressing the obvious needs that the Cowboys had heading into the offseason.
In Dan Connor the Cowboys got an inside linebacker with starting experience who can push Bruce Carter this offseason. And he will act as insurance if Bruce Carter doesn't turn out to be what the Cowboys are expecting him to be. This moves seems to signal that Bradie James and Keith Brooking won't be coming back next season. They assigned Connor jersey #56 so that says everything you need to know about Bradie James coming back.
Brodney Pool is a decent safety with experience in Rob Ryan's defense. He isn't the ball hawking type of safety we are all hoping for, but he does appear to be a slight upgrade over Abe Elam. I'm not sure if the Cowboys are counting on Pool to start or provide depth but he does make the safety position much deeper heading into the draft. He only got a one year deal for the Cowboys so it is likely that the Cowboys aren't done at safety and have plans in the draft.
The surprising move to me took place today. The Cowboys signed a sure-fire starter to shore up the interior line with Nate Livings. He has size (6' 5", 332 lbs) and he has started every game for the last two seasons for the Bengals. I have a feeling that Kyle Kosier is about to be shown the door after this signing. The Cowboys have now signed two guards and they have several on the roster who appear to be capable of developing into starters.
I have to say I am very impressed with the results the Cowboys have had early in free agency. They have managed to address many of the most glaring roster needs without destroying the salary cap this year or in the future. They are signing solid players, many who will start, and aren't breaking the bank to get them. It appears Jason Garrett and Jerry Jones are planning to get this team turned around next season. Last years roster purge / mini-rebuilding is over and it is time to start focusing on playoff victories again.