With only a few days until the season comes to a close people are starting to wonder what offseason moves the Dallas Cowboys need to make to become true competitors in the NFL? In order to make smart choices, Jerry Jones needs to analyze how other teams in the NFL became so successful, starting with the teams that made it to the Super Bowl. Even though its not a prideful thing to do, the Cowboys need to look at the Ravens and 49ers for inspiration.
The thing that stands out about both the San Francisco 49ers and the Baltimore Ravens are their stout defenses. Everyone knows that a good defense makes a solid offense and thats also true for these two Super Bowl teams. Both of their offensive lines are arguably the best offensive lines in football. What makes the 49ers offensive line so great is the decisions they have made during their draft picks. In 2010 the San Francisco 49ers made two wise moves by drafting Mike Iupati as an offensive guard and Anthony Davis as an offensive tackle. Jerry Jones should look at these two teams as a blue print to building the Dallas Cowboys into a competitor once again.
Jerry Jones must find a way to rebuild this offense line for the quickly aging Tony Romo, but first he must make some tough decisions on the roster to open up some cap room. Reworking deals with Tony Romo and Miles Austin may potentially help open up some space without stripping this team of talent. Another way to create more cap space is by letting go of older players like Jay Ratliff. The downside is that its not much of a payoff since releasing him would cost 6 million dollars and keeping him would cost 7 million the Cowboys would only save 1 million in cap space. Although, it would give the Cowboys more cap space, it would also create a hole in the defensive line, which would have to be fix. Another direction the Dallas Cowboys could take in freeing up some cap room would be to cut the struggling and over paid Doug Free. Doug Free hit a all time low this year and was graded as one of the top ten worst tackles in the league this year. A releasing of Doug Free would free up some cap space without any drawbacks and would help the Cowboys avoid paying him a hefty 11.2 million next season.
Yes, Doug Free would produce a hole along this offensive, but one that can easily be fixed with a signing of truly talented free agents like tackle Branden Albert from Kanasas City, or Jermon Bushrod from the New Orleans Saints. In Addition, the Cowboys could always be in play for LT Jake Long from the Miami Dolphins but signs indicate he’ll be looking in to cashing in a huge contract, something the Cowboys might be trying to avoid. All in all the Cowboys have an opportunity to fix their offensive line through the draft, they may be eligible for a solid Guard at pick number 18. But with the possible departure of Anthony Spencer and a release of Jay Ratliff, the Cowboys might try to go with a defensive tackle or end in the first round. Which further may indicate that the Cowboys will try to fix this offensive line through free agency.
As of right now what Jerry Jones is planning is anyones guess, all we know up to this point is that the offensive line needs to be majorly revamped with only a limited amount of cap space to do so. Now that its the offseason its just a matter of time before Doug Free gets released. And as for Jay Ratliff since his release won’t generate as much cap room for the Dallas Cowboys than a release of Doug Free, they may be more patient with him to see how he manages in a 4-3 scheme. In the end, whatever decisions the Cowboys decide to make during this offseason will either brace us for disaster or bring new hope for the 2013 Dallas Cowboys team. We’ll just have to wait and see.