This is my second version of the Cowboys offseason blueprint. The main focus was getting rid of some players on the roster to free up cap room, using free agency to mainly address offensive needs at running back and offensive line, then using the draft to add some serious talent to the defensive line. This way is kinda the other way around, using offseason to fix the defense and allowing the draft to inject talented youth into the offense. My previous write up can be read here.
***As noted before, I would like to cite KD and rabblerousr for their multiple posts that have allowed me to come to these conclusion.
Current Roster Mods: These are the moves we should make right now on the current roster.
(Current salary cap: Assumed at -20 mil)
1) Extend Tony Romo: This move will allow the Cowboys to keep their star quarterback for a while longer, while shaving over 8 million dollars from the cap. Savings: 8 million
2) Restructure Brandon Carr. Carr's contract was made to where it allowed Dallas to restructure him this year and reduce his crazy cap hit. A good restructure with compliance from Carr will allow Dallas to retain ALOT of money. Savings: 10 million
3) Restructure Jason Witten. Nothing matters more to Witten than the team, and he will gladly take a pay cut if it means team improvement. This will save 3 mil. Savings: 3 million
4) Release Dan Connor and Marcus Spears. Both of these players are out of position in the new defense. Connor is not fast enough, and Spears is nothing more than an old, overpaid backup. Savings: 5 million
5) Restructure Doug Free. Free will most likely take the pay cut, knowing that the other option really is to not be on the team anymore. He also will know that if released, he will not make more than 3.5 million anywhere, less than he will make even with the pay cut. Savings: 5.3 million
6) Trade Miles Austin to the Miami Dolphins for their 3rd and 4th round picks. I love Miles, and he has been a weapon for us at times, be he is injury prone, hasn't gotten back to his 2009 form and really is overpaid to be the No.2 receiver on this team. Miami is hunting for as much wide receiver talent it can get its hands on this year, with the position already be terrible, and their best receiver becoming a free agent. Rumor has it that they will be out for Mike Wallace as well, but nabbing Austin at the same time or as an alternative may be worth it for them, as Austin will come with some years left on that contract and at a friendlier price. Savings: 8.3 million
Total Savings after Roster Modifications: 39.6 million – 20 million = 19.6 million dollars in free agency spending.
Free Agency: As noted earlier I want to use free agency to fill defensive holes, so that the draft can be used to focus more on offense.
(Current Cap: 19.6 million)
1) Sign Desmond Bryant: This decision is kind of iffy, considering Bryant’s recent arrest. But the fact is, he is young (27), and is productive (4.5 sacks last year). He can start and be a solid contributor. He may not be an elite DT but he is very good and the Cowboys sorely need to fix the defensive line. This will allow them to apply pressure up front, play the run well, and give Ratliff a partner on that defensive line. And with his arrest, he should be a little bit cheaper. Cost: 5.0 million
2) Sign Kenny Phillips: Phillips fills up one safety position and brings lots of skill to the position. Dallas hasn’t had good safeties in a long time, but Phillips can help. Phillips is unhappy with the Giants and will be a good free agent safety. Phillips isn’t elite by any means, but he is very close. He can instantly take a starting job from Sensabaugh or Church, force some turnovers, and be a very valuable weapon for the secondary. Cost: 5.0 million
3) Sign Danny Woodhead. The Cowboys need another good running back behind DeMarco Murray. While Murray has been very good and serviceable, he is bound to get injured at some point. The Cowboys need someone as insurance who can be trusted to start a couple games, or take significant carries to keep Murray fresh and avoid injury. Woodhead is shifty, is a good kick returner, and is very versatile. The guy can catch out of the backfield and even line up as a slot receiver. He can take about 35 percent of the carries to provide Murray with breathers whenever he needs them. Woodhead would be a great and extremely useful addition to the Cowboys. Cost: 1.5 million
4) Sign Nick Roach. Roach is an underrated outside linebacker. He may not be the best rusher, but he is solid in coverage and zone, is athletic, and is a reliable tackler. The Cowboys don’t really have anything going for them at LOLB, and with the strongside already weakened by the lack of a quality defensive end; someone will need to step up over there. Albright is a good candidate, but the Cowboys can get much better with Roach. He will solidify the linebacker core and make them one of the best in the league. Cost: 5.5 million
Total Free agency Spending: 17 million
Leftover: 2.6 (for use on rookies)
Draft: The Cowboys can enter the draft with an offensive mindset
The Cowboys will have eliminated some big needs in free agency, but still have some left at defensive end and offensive line. Adding a wide receiver for depth, with Miles Austin now in Miami, would not be a bad idea either.
The Cowboys Current Picks:
77 (from Miami)
108 (from Miami)
1) The Cowboys trade their 18th overall pick to the Seahawks in exchange for the 25th, 87th, 184th, and 215th picks.
2) The Cowboys trade picks 80th, 87th, 111th, and 175th to the Chargers in exchange for the 45th overall pick.
3) The Cowboys trade picks 144th, 184th, and 215th to the Colts in exchange for the 118th overall pick.
4) The Cowboys trade picks 77th and 108th to the Ravens for the 62nd pick
After all of the trades, Dallas now has the following picks:
25. Barrett Jones, G/C: The Cowboys need interior line help very badly and Barrett Jones can play inside or out and be a mauler either way. I would like to take D.J Fluker here, as I’m actually looking for a right tackle with this pick, but he did not perform very encouragingly at the Combine. Instead, there is a new center in town.
45. Cornelius Carradine, DE: I previously said that I wanted this to be an offensive minded draft, and it will be, except for this one pick. Carradine is a true monster of a pass rusher. He was given a first round grade but because of an ACL tear, will drop to the second round. Familiar story for the Cowboys, as they took Bruce Carter and Sean Lee in the second round after they both fell to the same injury. The Cowboys find great value when taking injured players late. Carradine may not contribute immediately but should be ready to go by week 3 or 4.
47. Marquise Goodwin, WR: Officially my pet cat of the mid rounds. I love this guy. He has unbelievable speed and can be a perfect guy to play the slot for Dallas, with Dwayne Harris manning the No. 2 receiver spot. Goodwin will be a godsend to the Dallas offense. They have not had someone with this sort of speed in a very long time. He will be a nightmare on screen passes and presents a vertical threat. He has the ideal body to play the spot, and the quick movements as well. If Dallas can fix the offensive line in 2013 and grab Goodwin, they will give Romo the time in the pocket he needs, with a dagger of a slot receiver, an elite top 3 wide receiver on the outside, a solid man in the second receiver spot, and a dependable tight end. Goodwin will add a whole new dimension to this offense, and the Dallas offense could be one hell of a force to be reckoned with if they are able to get him here in the second round.
62. Dallas Thomas, T: The Cowboys have secured a good center, already have their franchise left tackle, and have at least a serviceable left guard. The next man to join the offensive line will be Dallas Thomas, the tackle and guard from Tennessee. Thomas is versatile enough to play guard if he had to, but project as a tackle. Dallas really needs a tackle as Free is just physically and mentally handicapped as soon as he dressed up in pads and Jermey Parnell is just enough to suffice, but nothing more than a last resort, Thomas can come in and start immediately at right tackle and provide Dallas with a trusted tackle for many years. He will greatly improve this line as it rebuilds itself in order to bring this offense back to greatness.
118. Alvin Bailey, G: Bailey is a mauling guard who can excel in run and pass protection. He has played against top SEC competition and performed very well against them. He will be a huge upgrade over Mackenzie Bernedeau and will be the final piece to bringing some relevance back to this offensive line. With a set of Smith, Livings, Jones, Bailey, and Thomas, Dallas will not have an elite line, but will have a couple elite players in there as part of a pretty strong offensive line. This will finally allow Murray some space to run and do his magic, while giving Romo time to pick apart defenses with his flashy receivers.
And there is my other plan for the offseason that Dallas should employ. Considering the above, here is what I would expect the starters to look like for 2013:
QB: Tony Romo
RB1: DeMarco Murray
RB2: Danny Woodhead
FB: Lawrence Vickers
WR1: Dez Bryant
WR2: Dwayne Harris
WR3: Marquise Goodwin
LT: Tyron Smith
LG: Nate Livings
C: Barrett Jones
RG: Alvin Bailey
RT: Dallas Thomas
TE1: Jason Witten
TE2: James Hanna
RDE: DeMarcus Ware
DT: Desmond Bryant
DT: Jay Ratliff
LDE: Cornelius Carradine
ROLB: Bruce Carter
MLB: Sean Lee
LOLB: Nick Roach
CB: Morris Claiborne
CB: Brandon Carr
S: Kenny Phillips
S: Matt Johnson
K: Dan Bailey
P: Chris Jones
PR: Dwayne Harris
KR: Marquise Goodwin
Assuming the above roster, here are stat projections for the 2013 season:
Romo: 68%, 4800 yards, 38 TD, 9 INT
Murray: 1150 yards, 5 TD, 25 rec, 150 yards
Woodhead: 300 yards, 3 TD, 35 rec, 300 yards, 3 TD
Witten: 95 rec, 950 yards, 4 TD
Hanna: 35 rec, 400 yards, 3 TD
Vickers: 15 yards, 10 rec, 80 yards
Bryant: 110 rec, 1450 yards, 14 TD
Harris: 65 rec, 850 yards, 6 TD
Goodwin: 60 rec, 700 yards, 5 TD
Ware: 70 tackles, 13.5 sacks, 3 FF
Bryant: 40 tackles, 2.5 sacks
Ratliff: 40 tackles, 5.0 sacks
Carradine: 60 tackles, 8.5 sacks, 1 FF
Carter: 80 tackles, 3.0 sacks, 3 FF, 7 passes defended, 2 INT
Lee: 135 tackles, 2.5 sacks, 4 FF, 11 passes defended, 4 INT
Roach: 80 tackles, 1.5 sacks, 2 FF, 5 passes defended, 1 INT
Claiborne: 45 tackles, 1 FF, 15 passes defended, 6 INT, 2 TD
Carr: 65 tackles, 1 FF, 12 passed defended, 5 INT, 1 TD
Phillips: 75 tackles, 1 FF, 8 passes defended, 5 INT
Johnson: 60 tackles, 2 FF, 9 passes defended, 5 INT
And that wraps up my offseason blueprint 2