When this season ends, the Dallas Cowboys will be faced with 14 players who could end up gone for the next season. Of those players, several are very important to the future success of this team. As I review the players on this list, we will see how the Cowboys could change quite a bit next season.
Some may be expendable. Some are certainly not.
Let’s look at unrestricted free agents first: Offensive Tackle Flozell Adams, WR Patrick Crayton, Free Safety Ken Hamlin, Running Back Julius Jones, CB Jacques Reeves, DB Keith Davis and DB Nate Jones.
I think Ken Hamlin, Flozell Adams and Patrick Crayton need to be resigned. If anyone could have been used as trade bait this year it was Adams. But it would have impacted the offensive line too much, and he is playing great this year despite his common false start penalties. Hamlin is in his first year as a Cowboy and has proven to be a valuable free safety, an actual surprise. Crayton has been a terrific fill in for the injured Terry Glenn. Reeves, Davis and Jones may be too valuable only because we are so weak at corner backs. But mock drafts are showing the Cowboys may be snagging a corner for the first pick. If so, those three are more expendable.
Which brings us to Julius Jones. Do we sign him or let some other team bid on him? Frankly, I don’t know what team would want him. Packers? Texans? Broncos? Who knows. JJ, in my opinion, hasn’t become the back I expected him to be. After the Emmitt Smith years, any back we pick in the first two rounds better wear the Star with pride. JJ doesn’t bring it every game. But the decision to lose him could be a huge factor for 2008 because that means we will either look for a new running back in the draft or make Marion Barber the sole runner for this offense.
But hold on. Marion Barber is a restricted free agent. This means teams can bid on MB3 but the Cowboys have seven days to match any offers. This could make for a crazy offseason, unless we sign him now. It is possible that MB3 may be used as trade bait for this offseason to collect additional picks.
Our backfield could be completely changed this offseason. Could we really lose Marion the Barbarian?