Darrell K. Royal once said dance with the one that brung ya but the ones that are supposed to block for the Cowboys remain dinged up.
The Cowboys Front Office may be willing to sign Montrae Holland but based on history and money it won't be until after Week 2, which could mean an ugly season debut up in New Jersey against the Jersey Blue Giants. Raf over at Cowboys Nation, however, suggests that the depth this team has at D-line could be leveraged into a trade for badly needed depth along the offensive line and possibly at tight end.
Scouring other teams depth charts over at OurLads.com, I noticed that the AFC Champion New England Patriots have 34-year-old Ty Warren still on the roster at DL. He seems a possible cut in favor of a more youthful Marcus Spears or even the 32-year-old Kenyon Coleman, whether a trade can be worked out or not. Alternatively and more likely, New England would be interested in one of our younger prospects such as former Detroit Lions DT Rob Callaway, a player who's a good fit in both the 3-4 and 4-3 and who gives their d-line rotation more youth. Losing three out of the four of Spears, Coleman, Callaway and Brent would still leave us with Hatcher, Rat, Lissy, Crawford, Geathers and Bass.
So most likely we trade one veteran DT (Callaway, considering how cheap his deal is compared to Spears' and Coleman's modest veteran deals), cut another (Coleman) and keep two others (I lean toward Spears AND Brent). It's going to be nigh impossible to keep 7 DL, 4 TEs with a veteran to spell Witten for a game or two, a corner to fill in for Mike Jenkins in game 1, and a 10th offensive lineman. Something's got to give and most likely it would be that 10th o-lineman or the 6th corner.
What could the Pats offer in return? They just signed free agent tight end Visanthoe Shancoe for insurance in case either of their Pro Bowl-caliber tight ends goes down. Maybe they'd be willing to part with him so we get a rental for one season against the scary prospect of Jason Witten having spleen surgery. Shancoe though would likely be a 'progress stopper' for James Hanna and John Phillips and hence may be a no go. But New England has a back up Center we could probably use.
To pick another franchise that could use some younger DL depth, we need look no further than our preseason opponents the San Diego Chargers. They're also getting older along their defensive front, with 31-year-old Antonio Garay at the nose and 30 plus year old Aubrayo Franklin in reserve. Unlike the Patriots the Chargers also have a 3rd string rather than 2nd string Center who might be better than Costa, and one Jason Garrett and his staff should get a look at this week.
Unfortunately for our prospects of pulling off a player for player trade, the Chargers already drafted Kendall Reyes (a guy many BTBers coveted when they'd never heard of Tyrone Crawford) to play DE so they're likely to be less interested in a Rob Callaway or Clifton Geathers than the Pats.
Finally there's one other team off the top of my head I can think of that has some need at DL and runs a similar defense to plug and play our players into -- the New York Jets. Jersey Green's massive NT Sione Pouha has knee issues this preseason. Would Josh Brent be a young, cheap injury replacement? Would the Jets be willing to part with their backup center who's stuck behind Nick Mangold for Brent plus send us a 7th rounder? We shall see. All I can say is that Rob Ryan is showing us more 4-3 looks that don't demand a large NT for a reason. If you'll notice, the guys we're more likely to keep are the smaller, quicker hybrid linemen while the ones most likely to be let go are the big Parcells-type run stuffers.