I know these are over-done and its only the start of the off-season, but one thing I've noticed from most of the recent Draft/ Free Agency/ Line-up posts is the lack of realism. People put together wish-lists of FAs they want and talk about needing to address areas via the draft without really checking numbers or putting heavy thought into it. At some point we need to take a break and look at numbers, The Boys will have about $20 million in cap space for FA signings and about 8 draft picks. That seems like a lot, but how many starting spots do we have to fill? Do we have the luxury of going after big names, or letting some of our under-performing guys go? On this fanpost I'll do my best to show a realistic scenario for our beloved team for the 2012 season.
Every discussion has to start somewhere, I'll start with the Offense. My idea of an area of need is a place for either improvement or a current player is a FA and we now have a hole. In my mind the areas of need on the offensive side are: QB, FB, TE, WR, OG, OC.
Our current QB situation is : Tony Romo, Stephen McGee. I would love to upgrade the back-up QB position, but we just don't have the money for a back-up that would be better than McGee. So, leave McGee as the #2 and draft a QB in the later part of the draft and pick up a undrafted FA for the PS.
The FullBack position is only because Fiametta is a FA right now, he needs to be resigned and I believe it will be for $1-$1.5 million a year.
The Cowboys' current TE is: Jason Witten and John Phillips. Martellus Bennett is a FA this year and is the sole reason this is a need. There isn't much in regards to FA for a TE and I would rather not waste one of the 8 draft picks on someone that could be worse than Bennett and would probably have to be a higher pick to match his qualities. Hopefully Bennett can be had for about $2 million a year and this is no longer a need.
Current WRs: Miles Austin, Dez Bryant, Kevin Ogletree, Jesse Holley, Andre Holmes, Raymond Radway, Dwayne Harris. Laurent Robinson is a FA this year and if he can be had for $4-$4.5 million per year then he needs to be resigned. Ogletree needs to be released and the other two spots can be filled by the remaining WRs on the team.
The Offensive line is quite a mess and I'll be lumping every one of the positions into one big group since there are so many players that can do different positions. Current OL: OT Doug Free, OT Tyron Smith, OT Jeremy Parnell (ERFA), C Kevin Kowalski, C Phil Costa, OG Bill Nagy, OG David Arkin, OG Kyle Kosier. OTs are good, just have to give Parnell the league minimum and swap Free and Smith. Holland needs to be resigned and will take about $2-$3 million a year. Nagy came out of college as a Center and I think he should be given a chance and let the winner take the reigns next year between Killer K, Costa and Nagy, with the possibility of bringing in a veteran if it looks bad during the practices. It may be smart to draft a Center prospect and a Guard for depth, but I believe we have some talent to work on before going after 2 draft picks in this area, so one pick in the high to middle rounds, maybe one other in the later rounds.
And that is the Offense. Without even touching the Defensive side of the ball and bringing back most of the people we had already for cheap deals, the Boys are already spending 2-4 draft picks depending on the Bennett situation, and $9-$11 Million of the cap space. If Bennett walks, $7-8 Million and 3-4 draft picks. That is a bunch for what is supposed to be a Defensive rebuilding year. (Bennett $2 mil, Fiametta $1-$1.5 mil, Robinson $4-$4.5 mil, Holland $2-$3 mil)
The Offensive Lineup according to this would be:
QB: Romo, Mcgee, Draft-Pick
RB: Murray, F. Jones, Tanner, Fiametta
WR: Austin, Bryant, Robinson, 2 of these Holley/Holmes/Radway/Harris
TE: Witten, Bennett, Phillips
OL: Kowalski, Costa, Nagy, Arkin, Holland, Kosier, Free, Smith, Parnell
The Defense is one giant turd that needs a ton of work to clean it up and not much left to do that. After the offense, the Cowboys will have about $10 million in cap space and 6-4 draft picks to redo the defense. Now to pick out the holes: CB, S, ILB, OLB, DE, NT Soooo, pretty much everywhere...
The Current CB situation looks like: Terrance Newman, Mike Jenkins, Orlando Scandrick, Justin Taplin-Ross, Mario Butler, and CJ Wilson. Part of having $20 million in cap means that Newman is gone and I think we can all agree to that. I don't know much about Wilson, but I'm assuming he is a PS guy. This area needs either 2 draft picks or 1 FA and 1 draft pick. Taplin-Ross, Butler and the lower draft pick can fight for the 4th and 5th corner spot while Scandrick and the draft-pick/FA can fight for 2nd and 3rd.
Safties include: Gerald Sensabaugh, Barry Church, Danny McCray, and Mana Silva. I'm guessing Silva is a PS guy, but we need to either re-sign Elam, which I'm not a fan of, draft a player, or sign a FA. To keep Elam it would be around $2-$2.5 million, which is pretty cheap and he could help the rookie learn the system.
Current ILB: Sean Lee, Bruce Carter, Orie Lemon, Brashton Satele. I honestly like Lemon as a backup and think that if Bradie James could be had for cheap then it may not be a bad idea to have him back as a back-up/insurance policy for Carter. Say $2 million for James. Brooking is done in Dallas. Satele is a PS with potential for an emergency backup. I believe this area needs a draft pick or FA signing.
The OLBs include: Demarcus Ware, Victor Butler, Alex Albright. This is a potential for a high draft pick, FA or bringing back Spencer. I think you wait until the draft to bring back Spencer, I'm sure by then he would come cheap and we may need to fill the need if it isn't done through the draft or a big FA. $2-$3 Million a year for Spencer if he lasts.
DE and NT are going to be combined for this as Rat may move: Jay Ratliff, Josh Brent, Sean Lissemore, Jason Hatcher, Marcus Spears, Kenyon Coleman, Robert Calloway, and Clifton Geathers (RFA). Coleman could probably be let go, but he may be a decent back-up since he is still under contract. If Ratliff moves to DE then NT becomes an issue and would need a FA or draft-pick, if not then DE needs the FA/draft-pick. Coleman could be released without worry if Ratliff slides over to DE. Geathers can be had for league minimum if they want him back, probably a PSer.
That's the defense, a draft pick is required in the CB, S and depending on FA signings 2 of the 3 other ares will as well. There is a possibility of spending $4-$6 Million on keeping Dallas's own FAs and 4 draft picks just to fill holes. Without signing Elam or Spencer, the Cowboys will have 3 starting positions to fill just on Defense and 3 back-up roles too.
You have $10-$13 Million, 3 starting positions open and several back-up spots available. How would you spread out the leftover cap? What would your draft strategy be? I'll include the rest of mine in the comments.
Also, be gentle, this is my first real Fan Post even though I've been around for a long time...