After a busy week for the Cowboys that topped off an offseason of moves, I thought it would be a good time to review the significant changes made at Valley Ranch since the end-of-the-season debacle against the Eagles.
QB - Getting a backup to Tony Romo was a priority. The Cowboys dumped the pop-gun Brad Johnson and allowed Brooks Bollinger to hit the free agent market. In a move that was a mild surprise, they traded for Jon Kitna instead of waiting for the Lions to release him. Avoiding any chance of a bidding war for his services, Dallas shipped CB Anthony Henry to Detroit. Dallas now has to decide if they want to carry a third QB on the roster and decide if they draft one or wait to sign either a FA or UDFA after the draft.
RB - No real change in personnel although how they are used is open to question. Jerry Jones made noises about possibly starting Felix Jones and returning Marion Barber to the closer role. Tashard Choice is still waiting in the wings to get his touches and the Cowboys finalized the position by keeping ERFA Alonzo Coleman.
FB - The Cowboys stand pat with Deon Anderson and bring back Julius Crosslin.
WR - I don't know if you guys heard about this but the Cowboys cut their #1 WR, a guy called Terrell Owens but also known as T.O. That move elevates Roy Williams (henceforth known as RW without the 2) to the #1 spot. Backing him up will be Patrick Crayton and more than likely both Miles Austin and Sam Hurd, both players were RFA's and the Cowboys slapped second-round tenders on them. At that level it's a good bet they will be back in a Cowboys uniform. Rounding out the crew is Isaiah Stanback.
TE - With Jason Witten and Martellus Bennett firmly entrenched at the top of the roster, the Cowboys didn't offer a tender to RFA Tony Curtis, instead keeping ERFA Rodney Hannah in the fold.
OL - No movement among the starting five. The Cowboys placed a second-round tender on Cory Procter and picked-up a $500,000 bonus for Montrae Holland, securing both backups for the 2009 season. They did lose UFA Joe Berger to the Dolphins.
DL - Chris Canty took the money and ran to the Giants but was quickly replaced by Igor Olshansky at a much more economical price than what Canty received. They tendered Stephen Bowen at the second-round level assuring his return and decided to let Tank Johnson hit the FA market.
LB - Zach Thomas was given his walking papers to the FA market when the Cowboys brought in veteran Keith Brooking from the Falcons to man the ILB position opposite Bradie James. Matt Stewart, another Falcons' alum and Phillips' player, was brought in while last year's nickel LB Kevin Burnett is currently testing the FA waters.
CB - The Cowboys thinned the herd at the position by releasing Pacman Jones early in the offseason and recently traded starter Anthony Henry to the Lions in the Kitna deal. This probably means that Mike Jenkins is elevated to a starting corner spot opposite Terence Newman. Orlando Scandrick, who had a great rookie year playing the slot in the nickel, could find himself playing some free safety this year. With all these moves the Cowboys will probably bring another player in either in FA or the draft and will give Alan Ball a chance to grab some playing time.
S - Starter Roy Williams was given his outright release to the satisfaction of many Cowboys fans (as well as negating the need to designate players as RW1 and RW2.) Keith Davis is currently testing free agency although I'm sure the Cowboys would want him back for special teams if they can afford it. As previously mentioned, Orlando Scandrick could play a role at free safety, shifting Ken Hamlin over to strong safety.
Coaches - Defensive coordinator Brian Stewart was shown the door and instead of replacing his position the Cowboys just handed the job to head coach Wade Phillips. They dumped the woeful Bruce Read from special teams and brought in Joe DeCamillis who has history with Wade Phillips. And in one of the most curious non-moves, they attempted to bring in Dan Reeves as a consultant only to have the deal blow up over contractual issues. CSI Dallas is still dissecting the death of that deal.
That about covers it all. Of course if I missed something I'm sure you'll let me know in the comments. I didn't bother to cover all the bottom of the roster moves.