The First Cuts, Dallas Cowboys 2012

This is kind of a blast from the past thing for me. You see, back when I was seized with an uncontrollable urge to start writing endless posts about the Dallas Cowboys, one of my favorite ones was called The first cut is the deepest. It was not the most widely read or commented FanPost I did in the days I went by Pineywoods, and it only garnered one rec. But I was almost exactly right in my call for Roy Williams to be cut on day one, just missing nailing it completely by his being the third name cut, rather than number one with a bullet.

I just took a run at prioritizing the draft needs of the Cowboys. And with OCC's post about RKGs and KD's way too premature draft post, I got to thinking about what the first step really needs to be for the Cowboys.

The draft starts April 26th. Free agency and the trading window open on March 13th. Before either of those take place, Dallas needs to start thinking about who needs to go from the current roster. So I thought I would put up my list and see what kind of feedback I could stir up.

My nominees for former Dallas Cowboy post-jump.

I'm not going to go through the whole roster name by name like I did in my draft post. If you need to go over the players currently on the roster, here is the full list from the mothership for you to review.

Instead of looking at everyone, I am just going to list those players that I think should be gone before free agency even opens up. I realize that the team may not address the issue that way. As a matter of fact, I don't know all the rules on when they can cut people and when they can't, and how the whole roster/salary cap issue works during the off season. I am just going to name the players that I think are definite cuts, that just don't seem to have anything left to contribute. And then I am going to talk about a few that a lot of people think should be gone, and why I did not put them on the "definitely outta here" list.

My Cuts (alphabetically):

Alan Ball. I think this experiment has run its course. In a sense, this is a bit risky, because he is not the only cornerback that is on the list, so the draft and free agency/trading is going to have to fill several holes. But the eyeball test, both mine and several others' here, just say that he is not able to handle the job.

Keith Brooking. It is just time. He can't move fast enough. He deserves a lot of credit for his effort and spirit, and I would not mind seeing him on the sidelines in a coaching capacity some day, but it's time to have a really nice going away party for him.

David Buehler. It has been a long time since we griped and moaned about him taking up a roster spot just to kick the ball off. If he is kept on the team, many of us will be doing it again.

Abram Elam. This one is a little hard. He came in and really helped early in the season, but seemed to just fade as the year went on. Safety is even more scary than cornerback, because the pool of available talent does not seem as large out there.

Bradie James. Everything nice I just said about Brooking, only doubled. Or maybe tripled.

Jon Kitna. He has basically volunteered to go, and there is no reason to dispute him.

Mat McBriar. This one really sucks in my opinion. But given the nature of his injury, I just think he is not likely to ever be the weapon he was.

Sammy Morris. He was a desperation stop gap move. So long, and thanks for the fish carries.

Terence Newman. He just was used up by the end of the year. A big salary with some salary cap costs - but then the tean cut RW, didn't they?

Kevin Ogletree. It's finally time to free the Tree, although I don't think that was the original way that was meant. Of all the wide receivers on the roster, he just seems to be the one that has no more upside. The rest of the players on the roster can fight it out to make the 2012 roster (and hopefully Laurent Robinson will be one of them), but KO should not be in the mix.

Frank Walker. I told you it would be scary at cornerback. I'll say it again: No more older, slower guys back here.

Chauncey Washington. Same as Sammy Morris, basically.

That is the list of people that I think do not have any future with the team, and that need to be moved on out. I do not think they even are worth keeping around to compete for a slot. Sometimes, you need to clear the way for new talent to come in.

There are some names that others would have on the list, but that I think should kept with the team until they are beaten out of a slot, or in some cases, they move on to another team through free agency.

Martellus Bennett. Next to Alan Ball, perhaps the most disliked player on the team. But he seems to bring something to the table (like blocking) that the coaches really like, and unlike some of the players listed above, he did show improvement in the latter part of the season, particularly in catching passes. I do think there is a maximum value he has for the team, but I figure he will either sign with the Cowboys for an amount they think is affordable, or he will sign for more somewhere else.

Derrick Dockery/Montrae Holland/Kyle Kosier. I think at least one of these guys, and maybe all three, will not be on the squad at the start of the season - but given the state of the offensive line, and the uncertainty about the other OL personnel, they all should be given a chance to heal and see if they are better than the competition. I don't think any of them were great, but none of them totally sucked, either.

Anthony Spencer. Much like Bennett, I think that he brings something to the table that the coaches like. I do not see him being cut until the team clearly has a better option, and then he may stay with the team over Alex Albright or even Victor Butler. This is one case where I think we don't always know what the coaches know, or expect.

That's the way I would approach it. This is not to say that many others will not fall by the wayside as OTAs and minicamps come along, and as new players are brought in. But right now, I think it is time to start moving some deadwood out, to open up room for new growth - and maybe send a message. Again.

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