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Future Cowboys free agents

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With the signing of Bradie James, the Cowboys are now $4 million under the cap. Who else do we have with free agency coming up after the year?

The Cowboys have six other players who could be unrestricted free agents after this season: center Al Johnson, defensive end Kenyon Coleman, safety Marcus Coleman (who is on the suspended list), right tackle Marc Colombo, center Andre Gurode and linebacker Al Singleton. Punter Mat McBriar will be a restricted free agent.

Farther down the road, the Cowboys will have to work on a deal for cornerback Terence Newman, who is signed through 2007.

Center Al Johnson: It would be nice to keep him as a backup, but he's no longer in line for a starting position, so he'll have to take backup money. If he balks at that, then it's time for him to move on.

Defensive end Kenyon Coleman: Another backup who is a nice to have, but not essential. He can probably get more money elsewhere.

Safety Marcus Coleman: Dead man walking.

Right tackle Marc Colombo: He looks like he's got the potential to be a quality lineman. The Cowboys need to see him play over the course of the year, and then decide how much they think he's worth. Unless he stinks this year, they need to re-sign him.

Center Andre Gurode: Unless he backslides, he looks like our starting center now and for the future. This is the biggest priority on the list, the Cowboys would do well to lock him up before he has a chance to hit the free agent market.

Linebacker Al Singleton: It all depends on how much money he wants. If he wants starter money and thinks he can get it elsewhere, he'll walk. If he's content as a backup, there's a chance he returns.

Punter Mat McBriar: Sign him. It's that simple.

DeMarcus Ware discusses his role in the defense and comparisons to Shawne Merriman.

"Oh, man, I've seen how they [San Diego] blitz the passer, I love it," Ware said. "But we're a totally different 3-4, and this is how we play. When we blitz the passer we get the same pressure they do, but me being a pass rusher I always want to blitz and get pressure on the quarterback. But I do what they tell me to do."

Philosophically, coach Bill Parcells does not like to blitz often. He prefers the game to be broken down to a winner-take-all battle royal. The Chargers will move Merriman around the defense, strong side to weak side, and tell him to get up the field. Scouts say he is not in coverage much.

I noticed in the Redskins game that they are moving Ware around a little bit more than they did last year. This is probably because he's got a pretty firm grasp of the responsibilities of an OLB in the 3-4 defense this year. Now they can do more with him, but they will always ask him to drop into coverage limiting some of his chances at rushing the QB. They'll never be as aggressive as the Chargers.

The DFW S-T takes a look at how our rookies are progressing.