It’s no secret the Cowboys need to upgrade their roster, but there is some dispute over which players should be shown the door. In my opinion, the ‘Boys need to allow younger players a chance to prove themselves while also ridding themselves of certain veterans with limited future potential.
10. WR Kevin Ogletree
After a promising initial season as an undrafted rookie, Ogletree regressed in 2010. He displayed a bit of a “diva-like” attitude despite entering the season with just seven career receptions.
His ceiling on the Cowboys for the foreseeable future is no greater than the No. 3 receiver, but his special teams play doesn’t match his projected role. With limited offensive upside, the Cowboys might be smart to find someone with potential and a willingness to play special teams.
9. LB Leon Williams
8. DE Marcus Spears
Spears’ departure seems virtually certain at this point, as his run-stuffing ability (he secured a tackle on 6.1 percent of snaps—by far the best of any defensive lineman on the team) simply isn’t valuable enough to override his inability to reach the passer (he had zero sacks and the lowest quarterback pressure rate).
He never really seemed to fit well in the 3-4 defense, so I’d expect him to land with a 4-3 team this offseason.
By the way, you can find more in-depth stats on the Cowboys’ defensive line here.
7. WR Jesse Holley
A lot of people will want to provide Holley with another season to prove himself, but I just don’t think he possesses the big-play ability as a wide receiver to keep him around.
He’s awesome on special teams, but is that enough to justify a roster spot? Fourth and fifth receivers should be great on special teams and have tremendous upside as a receiver. The latter characteristic isn’t one Holley possesses.
6. RT Alex Barron
Barron was a failed experiment. At least Dallas didn’t give up much (just Bobby Carpenter) to acquire him. As of now, Sam Young should be the Cowboys’ starting right tackle in 2011 (a free agent or high draft pick seems likely).
5. LB Keith Brooking
In my 2010 Inside Linebacker Grades, I gave Brooking a ‘C’ overall grade, including ‘C’ against the run and a ‘C+’ in pass coverage. That’s quite a downgrade from the ‘B+’ he received in 2009. Brooking is a great leader, but his on-field play has declined so much that there’s no justification for a roster spot. It’s time to see what Sean Lee can do.
4. WR Roy Williams
Williams had an up-and-down season, but everyone knows his contract is far from ideal. His production comes nowhere near justifying all the money he receives.
While Williams can still be useful somewhere, he’s not the sort of receiver that can help the Cowboys much right now. The team already has two big, powerful wide receivers in Miles Austin and Dez Bryant, so Williams's skill set and lack of special teams play aren’t a great fit in Dallas anymore.
3. DE Igor Olshansky
Olshansky didn’t record a single sack in 2010 and had the lowest quarterback hit rate of any defensive end on the team. Furthermore, he wasn’t even that good against the run, tallying a tackle rate worse than that of pass-rush specialist Jason Hatcher.
In my 2010 Defensive End Grades, Olshansky’s ‘C-’ grade was a steep drop from his ‘B’ grade in 2009.
2. RB Marion Barber
Stats aren’t needed to notice Barber’s sharp decline. While he’s still solid in pass protection and an above average pass-catcher, his lack of explosion and power (yes, power) have created a poor situation for Dallas. It’s a shame Barber was starting as long as he did, and it really took an injury to get him out of the lineup.
With a bunch of money due to Barber in 2011, the ‘Boys need to cut their losses and release the veteran. At this point, a mid-round rookie would probably be an upgrade (and the Cowboys might need to secure that rookie if they plan on trading Tashard Choice as well).
1. RT Marc Colombo
Colombo was one of the worst offensive tackles in the NFL this season. PFF agrees, ranking him as the third-worst tackle of the 77 who tallied 300 or more snaps. The fact that Colombo continued to start throughout the season is scary.
One of the primary ways I will be judging Jason Garrett’s future as a head coach is the manner with which he handles Colombo. The veteran needs to be cut this offseason, and if that doesn’t happen, there will be a problem. My detailed offensive line report is coming soon.