We will skip the “Exclusive Rights Free Agents” for obvious reason and go right to the Restricted ones.
Tony Fiammetta – Fullback -Value: High – Notes: Fiammetta helped the rushing game for Dallas reach new heights this season, when he was healthy. I can’t wait to see what he can do with a full training camp and preseason under his belt. This is a “must” re-sign.
Chris Greisen – Quarterback -Value: Low – Notes: Greisen is a 35 year old QB who won a UFL championship last year. He was signed on as a back-up when Jon Kitna went down with a back injury. Greisen spent time on the Cowboys Practice Squad in 2010 as well, so he was basically signed on because he knew the system already. No value here.
Kevin Ogletree – Wide Receiver – Value: Low – Notes: The young promising receiver failed to live up to expectations this year. After a disastrous start to the season, where he made some mental errors no third year player should ever make, Ogletree was all but replaced by Laurent Robinson. He finished the year with just 15 receptions and no touchdowns. Ogletree also failed to make an impact on special teams as a returner. It’s time to cut the cord.
Now let’s talk a look at all the Unrestricted Free Agents:
Alan Ball – Defensive Back -Value: Low – Notes: Ball may be the worst cornerback on the team. And on this defensive secondary, that’s a real achievement! After a failed attempt to make him a safety last season, Ball returned to his lack-luster career as a corner. This experiment should have ended two years ago.
Martellus Bennett – Tight End -Value: Medium – Notes: I have always been a big critic of Bennett. I do not think he was worth the second round draft pick we wasted on him, I dislike his approach to the game and he is injury-prone. But the one thing Bennett can do is block. And it is for that reason alone I think the Cowboys could resign him. But they would have to do it for cheap and I think Bennett thinks too much of himself to allow that to happen. Bon Voyage, Martellus!
Keith Brooking – Linebacker -Value: Low – Notes: I like Brooking. I think he gives you everything you’d want from a locker room leader and veteran. It’s just to bad his body is screaming to retire. His legs are gone and so is he. Could a coaching job be his next position?
Derrick Dockery – Guard -Value: High – Notes: Dockery was signed to add veteran depth to a young, inexperienced offensive line this season. And for the most part, he did that. Dockery should be re-signed, if for nothing else, as insurance for the developing O-line. Obviously, new Offensive Coordinator Bill Callahan will have something to say about that.
Abram Elam - Safety-Value: Medium – Notes: Elam did a good job this year, but not a great one. All signs point to Elam staying on with Rob Ryan bringing in another former Cleveland Brown alum, Jerome Henderson, to be the new secondary coach. Henderson coached Elam in Cleveland for two years. But Abram is not a ball hawk and Dallas desperately needs a playmaking safety. Hopefully, one can be found in free agency or in the draft. Either way, I don’t think fans would complain to much if Elam stayed another year.
Montrae Holland – Guard -Value: High – Notes: After being cut in the preseason, Holland return to play some of the best football of his short career. I think the Cowboys are high on Holland and he will certainly be back. Hopefully, he can stay away from the Twinkies in the off-season.
Bradie James – Linebacker -Value: Low – Notes: I know a ton of Cowboy fans want James’ head on a platter. But James is relatively young, turning 31 in a couple days, and he provides veteran leadership in the locker room. James has defiantly been replaced as a starter by second year phenom Sean Lee, but he is a quality back-up. James had his worst season statically since his rookie year (2003) with only 44 tackles total for this season. He had 110 tackles in 2010. And James is a big liability in pass coverage. But I would not be opposed to re-signing him as a veteran back-up for his leadership qualities alone. With Victor Butler and Bruce Carter in the wings, I’m not sure that will happen.
Jon Kitna – Quarterback -Value: Low – Notes: Kitna is all but retired. He’s on the edge of 40 and it’s time to head out for greener pastures. Kitna has had a good run though.
Mat McBriar – Punter -Value: Medium – Notes: The Pro Bowl punter had his worst year since 2004 this season. Combine that with an injury that landed him on the IR at the end of the year and the good play of rookie punter Chris Jones, and now it appears that McBriar is suddenly expendable.
Sammy Morris – Running Back -Value: Low – Notes: After he was signed in Week 15 to replace the injured DeMarco Murray, Morris surprised a lot of Cowboy fans with a 53 yards on 12 carries performance in his debut game against Tampa Bay. Unfortunately, the 34 year old veteran back sputter in the final game of the season with 29 yards on 13 carries. And with Dallas getting their young core of running backs returning from injury (Murray and Phillip Tanner), Morris’ days with Dallas are over.
Laurent Robinson – Wide Receiver -Value: High – Notes: Arguably the best receiver on the team last year, Robinson is a “must” re-sign this off-season. And according to the wideout, the feeling is mutual. The former Ram had a breakout year as Dallas’ third wide receiver. He finished the year with 54 receptions for 858 yards and 11 touchdowns. In the words of Deion Sanders: “Pay the man!!!”
Anthony Spencer – Linebacker-Value: Medium – Notes: I’ve never been a fan of any player who admits to taking plays off, but Spencer continued to show glimpses of potential this season. He made a huge play in the first game against the Washington Redskins that basically won the game, but Spencer finished with just six sacks for the year. I expect a lot more production from a guy playing the opposite side from All-World Linebacker DeMarcus Ware. If Spencer can be kept for cheap, it might be worth seeing if he can become more consistent. Then again, he may have already out-stayed his welcome.
Frank Walker – Cornerback -Value: Low – Notes: Walker was an okay back-up’s back-up this season, but he made very little impact on a secondary that was grossly under-achieving. The Cowboys would be better off developing a young player in his roster spot next season instead.