Now that the Dallas Cowboys' season has unceremoniously come to an end, it’s time to take a look at how the team can get better through free agency. The 2013 free-agency period will commence on the afternoon of March 12.
While the Cowboys appear to be set at the skilled positions, they have failed to address huge problems on the offensive line all season long. They also encountered gaping holes on the defensive line due to injuries.
With pressing needs on both the offensive and defensive lines, let’s look at some free agents that would be a great fit in Dallas.
Seriously, there really is nobody better than Romo in the free-agent market at the quarterback position.
The Cowboys would be wise to avoid quarterbacks available via free agency.
The only true starter worthy of consideration is Joe Flacco, and the Baltimore Ravens will most likely stick him with a franchise tag. Other names becoming free agents include Matt Moore, Byron Leftwich, Brady Quinn, Vince Young and Matt Leinart.
It would be better for the Cowboys to draft a young signal-caller to sit and learn behind Romo next year.
When he was healthy, DeMarco Murray showed he can be counted upon to carry the load. However, Murray did miss six games due to injury.
The Cowboys would be wise to try and find a suitable replacement should Murray go down again next season. Since Felix Jones will become an unrestricted free agent, the Cowboys might look for a running back to fill the void.
The biggest name to test the free-agent waters will be St. Louis Rams running back Steven Jackson, who has enjoyed some of his biggest performances against the Cowboys.
Adam Schefter speculated the Cowboys could have been interested in possibly making a trade for Jackson back in October. If they had an interest in him then, they might take a look at bringing Jackson in now.
The Cowboys might be happy to avoid all free-agent running backs and find another young runner in the draft.
Clearly Dez Bryant became a dominate receiver in the latter part of the season, but the Cowboys still need someone else they can rely on to catch passes. Miles Austin just is not getting it done and he has become a liability instead of an asset.
The Cowboys need a second receiver that can make the critical catch when Bryant is unavailable. Dallas has been working on making Cole Beasley into a Wes Welker-type receiver so why not just bring in Wes Welker.
The New England Patriots have made it clear that Welker is not in their future plans. Welker will not come cheap, but if the Cowboys can make a deal, they will have solidified their receiving corps.
With perennial Pro Bowler Jason Witten already on board, the Cowboys don’t have a pressing need at tight end.
Rookie James Hanna and fourth-year man John Phillips also played well when asked to step into the game. If the Cowboys can continue to develop Hanna, they should not have to delve into the free-agent tight end pool.
The Cowboys are familiar with a couple of the tight ends about to hit free agency. Both Anthony Fasano and Martellus Bennett will be on the market, but neither should interest Dallas, especially since it just added Colin Cochart to its reserve/future list.
It is clear that the Cowboys offensive line needs a big-time upgrade and there are several huge names available in free agency.
If he is healthy, and if the Miami Dolphins do not use the franchise tag on him, Jake Long tops the list of available offensive tackles. By acquiring Jake Long, the Cowboys would be able to move Tyron Smith back to the right side of the line.
Also, if Jerry Jones really is serious about rebuilding his offensive line, he can open up the bank account and try to steal away Ryan Clady from the Denver Broncos. Seeing as Clady turned down a five-year, $50 million offer from the Broncos prior to this season, the Cowboys might not be able to meet his demands.
The Cowboys defensive line took huge hits this year with injuries to Jay Ratliff and Josh Brent’s tragic accident. The first thing Dallas will need to do is decide if it wants to keep Kenyon Coleman.
After that decision, the Cowboys may want to look at Henry Melton from the Chicago Bears. Melton has been successful at applying pressure on quarterbacks from the interior of the defensive line, something the Cowboys have struggled to do.
If the Bears cannot keep the young 25-year-old defender in Chicago, he would make a strong addition to the Cowboys front line.
Dallas might also be interested in Randy Starks from the Miami Dolphins.
The Cowboys do not have to look far when looking for free-agent linebackers. They have one at home that has been playing very well opposite DeMarcus Ware.
One of the Cowboys’ top priorities should be to sign Anthony Spencer to a long-term deal. Spencer finished the season with 11 sacks, 95 combined tackles and two forced fumbles.
That Spencer already knows the Cowboys system and has been playing for Rob Ryan for a couple season definitely makes him a must-sign.
The Cowboys appear to be set at the cornerback position with Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr. Even if Mike Jenkins departs via free agency, the emergence of Orlando Scandrick will help as the slot corner.
That means the Cowboys can test the waters for a free-agent safety. The biggest name at safety might be Jairus Byrd from the Buffalo Bills.
Let’s face it—once Barry Church was gone for the year with a season-ending injury, the Cowboys struggled to replace him. Danny McCray filled in the rest of the way, but McCray was extremely inconsistent from week to week and had problems when he was asked to play in coverage.
If the Cowboys want to make a big splash at safety, they might also consider Dashon Goldson. Goldson was unable to get the San Francisco 49ers to offer him a long-term contract. Goldson could be the ball-hawking safety the Cowboys have been missing.