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1. Good-bye Newman!!!
With an inflated salary for the 2012 season and his purely pathetic performance in 2011 the Cowboys need to have Newman go the same route as Roy Williams, Marion Barber and Leonard Davis. If Dallas has any hopes of being anything more than a second or third tier team they need to cut ties with Terrance Newman ASAP as Garrett, Ryan and Romo’s futures depend on it.
2. Sign Laurent Robinson long-term
Was there a player signed off the waiver wire anywhere else in the NFL that had as big impact on a team’s season as Laurent Robinson joining the Cowboys? Robinson and Romo clicked early and often and a nice four or five year deal should be in the works. Robinson has settled in nicely as that number three wideout the Cowboys have been looking for the past few seasons. I read someone compared him with former Cowboys wide receiver, Patrick Crayton, but without the big mouth and I think that’s pretty close.
3. Say Good-Bye Keith Brooking and Bradie James
Keith Brooking and Bradie James are two players that are true professionals and great role models but are at the end of the line with regards to their career as a football player. It’s almost painful to watch Brooking and James out on the field compared to what Sean Lee can do and does for the Cowboys. With Bruce Carter healthy and Sean Lee truly becoming the leader of the linebacking core Dallas could spend money much more wisely than to continue the career of Brooking or James. If I were Jerry Jones or Jason Garrettboth players would be welcome additions to the Cowboys organization in some off the field capacity but with the conclusion of this season it is obvious they’ve played their last games as players for the Cowboys.
4. Resign Abram Elam
Possibly the position with the biggest improvement this season is free safety as the Cowboys realized the Alan Ball project was a colossal disaster and went with a player they let get away once in Abram Elam. Elam familiarity with the Rob Ryan defense was obvious and a full off-season to blend with his teammates should lead to even better success on the field. Elam while far from perfect made some key plays when needed and with an upgrade of talent at some other defense positions the Cowboys appear to have a long term answer at free safety. I think a fair market deal in the neighborhood of five years makes a ton of sense.
5. Bring back Anthony Spencer but only under our terms
Spencer always shows flashes and maybe a full off-season with Rob Ryan would finally get that switch to stay on. Spencer’s future with Dallas should be a decision solely made by Rob Ryan. Jerry might not want to admit another 1st round flameout, Garrett’s strength is offense but if Rob Ryan says he can win with Spencer then welcome him back but only under our terms.
6. Back up QB
It appears that Jon Kitna is at the end of the road of his very respectable career as his back has cost him some games and at 39 and many years of football it’s not as if suddenly his back is going to be getting better. The real question is the faith and belief inStephen McGee as the long term back up for Romo and possible someday successor. From what McGee showed at the end of last season and in preseason this year, I don’t see any reasons to believe why the Cowboys shouldn’t have faith with him as the #2 in 2012. It should be noted they did put a claim in for Kyle Orton but that may have more to do with Kitna’s back and keeping Orton away from the Bears than it was lack of faith in McGee. I say make Aaron Corp a priority free agent acquisition this off-season after the draft.
Amazing that when Dallas loses the cry is they need an offensive coordinator but when they have a game with great offensive production then it’s forgotten. If I were voting I do agree that Dallas would be wise to have an offensive coordinator so Jason can run the team and not just the offense. It would be interesting to see if two former Cowboys assistants Tony Sparano or Norv Turner would draw consideration by the Dallas front office. I think the chance is better that Sparano is the choice to join the staff (especially if Hudson Houck retires) but it’s clear that Garrett has too much on his plate at this point. Maybe after a few playoff wins are under his belt, Jason can trust others more and budget his time better until then I think a solid offensive coordinator who knows his role would be a welcome addition.
8. Let Martellus Bennett Walk
Enough is enough time to move on. Martellus has had moments that the light has come on slightly but not nearly where it needs to be at this point in his career and coming into a contract year he certainly hasn’t taken any necessary steps to warrant a substantial contract. The best move would be to wish him well and let him walk and grab a second tier tight end in free agency or the draft. I would be on-board with us resigning Martin Rucker as our third tight end and leave John Phillips as our second tight end. Regardless the Martellus Bennett years has to come to an end and this lifelong Cowboys fan is glad for that to happen.
9. Cut Ties With David Buehler
I never understood the long time loyalty to a kicker who missed extra points, field goals and didn’t create a touchback at a higher rate than was expected by the team. Regardless his time has ended in Dallas and we need a full commitment to Dan Bailey. Let’s fill Buehler roster spot with a player who can actually have an impact on special teams.
10. Draft Defense and a little offense
This season has been a mulligan in many ways no more so than on our defense that has learned Rob Ryan’s scheme on the fly and at times has look dominating and at other times looked confused. With a full off-season the Cowboys need to upgrade the talent this off-season to fully benefit from a Rob Ryan coached defense. While it is against NFL rules to simply draft an entire college defense (Alabama or LSU) I would advise our entire scouting department be deployed to the National Title game as between these two teams’ defenses they have all that we need. We need to draft football players not frail specimens like Newman and Ball who get pushed around by other teams more "manly" receivers. With seven picks in April’s draft I say six should be spent on defense (CB (2), ILB (2), OLB, DE) and a real center. Can’t get a center from Wal-Mart and expect us not to hit a snag every so often with a bad snap.
11. Let’s Flip-Flop but not like a Presidential Candidate
Quite obvious to all of those watching the Cowboys games that Doug Free is a good player and Tyron Smith is a special talent. It was nice to redshirt Tyron a year at right tackle but we need a player of that caliber protection Tony’s blindside.
Do you have any suggestions? Feel free to add them or send me an email at PatSchuster@cowboysconfidential.com . Happy Holidays!!