With the franchising deadline having passed it's time for the Cowboys to get to work on free agency. The Cowboys have just one unrestricted free agent, but 12 restricted free agents. So, here's a breakdown of each agent and what the Jerry Jones plan of attack is with each player.
Holland is the Cowboys only unrestricted free agent, and he won't be back. He almost never challenged for a backup spot and the Cowboys have enough linemen to try to develop without Holland.
If he gets a contract from another team it'll be to do the same thing he did in Dallas; sit on a bench, so Jones won't match anything he gets.
Miles Austin/Sam Hurd
Austin has a breakout season and is now looking for the big payday, however, Jones is a bit weary of receivers getting big checks and not producing (Roy Williams).
This means that Jones will be patient. He's already said that Austin isn't going anywhere, "I don’t know what that impact will be but to the extent that we just are not gonna have Miles Austin any place but with the Dallas Cowboys. We need him."
Which means that he'll give Austin a first round tender, $3.68 million and wait till the season starts. If Austin has a hot start expect Jones to give him that big contract just like he did DeMarcus Ware and Tony Romo.
I don't see any other teams signing Austin to an offer sheet because Jones will match it, guaranteed.
The Cowboys will bring Hurd back, but they'll also find someone to challenge him in camp. He was supposed to have a breakout season along with Austin but hardly saw the field. The Cowboys won't put up with another lackluster season, especially with Ogletree still on the roster.
Pat Watkins/Gerald Sensabaugh
Watkins' days in Dallas are most likely over. The Cowboys don't want to pay even a third round tender on a great special teams player and little else.
Remember Watkins started in his first season in Dallas, but hasn't since. Even last year when Hamlin was injured, Alan Ball started in his place instead of Watkins and it took the staff the entire week before letting Watkins play in the final game against Minnesota over rookie Mike Hamlin.
They'll let Watkins test the waters and if the price is too high they'll let another boat pick him up.
Sensabaugh is a different story.
Sensabaugh said he wants to stay in Dallas, but he also said he wants a long term deal. However, the Cowboys are unlikely to give him a long term deal based on one season (especially with the possibility of no football after next season).
Sensabaugh will get some interest from other teams, which could put the Cowboys in a bidding war, but I don't see it going that far. Most likely Sensabaugh will receive a second round tender to stick around.
One thing to consider is SI's mock draft has the Cowboys taking Taylor Mays in the first round. I think that would be a huge mistake (do we really need another Roy Williams?), but it could give the team some leverage.
Jason Hatcher/Stephen Bowen/Marcus Spears
The Cowboys will only keep two of these guys.
Statistically Spears had the most tackles (25) and tackles for a loss (2). However, Hatcher had the most sacks (3) and Bowen also had his moments this season; and both played a lot less than Spears did.
Spears is a first round pick who has eight career sacks hasn't lived up to the hype (Ware was drafted the same year and has 64.5 sacks). It would be cheaper to keep Hatcher and Bowen and give them more playing time while drafting someone (however, that could be hard with just six picks) than it would to keep Spears and one of the other two.
If they do keep Spears they should seriously consider having him play defensive tackle along with Jay Ratliff.
I don't see a way for him to stay in Dallas, he was serviceable as Ratliff's backup, but didn't impress anyone. Whether it's through the draft or the Cowboys moving Spears to DT they won't resign him.
It's just easier to find someone else.
The Cowboys will give Ladouceur a fourth round tender or just work something out with him for a little more than the league minimum. He's a great long snapper but does nothing else and he knows it.
Still the Cowboys won't give him up, a solid long snapper goes a long way (just ask the 2002 Giants).
Duke Preston/Cory Procter/Pat McQuistan
Procter played in limited action during the season, mostly special teams. Preston and McQuistan have been in the league four and five years respectively and if they haven't made a splash yet they're not going to.
The Cowboys will keep Procter around for depth, but if they just draft a couple guys and don't keep him no one's going to miss any of these players.
*Allen Rossum is a RFA, but the Cowboys have no interest in him at all.