Dallas Cowboys Have Decisions To Make With Free Agents On Offense

The Cowboys list of in-house free agents is long; we attempt to identify who might return in 2016, starting with the offense.

The Dallas Cowboys currently have 61 players under contract for the 2016 season. As we covered in our initial Cap Look (click here for the Overview on Dallas' 2016 Salary Cap space), those 61 players, and a small amount of "dead money" puts Dallas at around $12 million of cap space before they make any moves to free up additional room. Of course, NFL teams are allowed to have 90 players on their offseason rosters, as only the Top 51 salaries count towards the salary cap. As such, Dallas has all the flexibility they need to sign their own free agents they see as part of the long-term, and even the short-term, plans. But who will be the chosen ones? Here's a brief look at the candidates on offense.

POSITION PLAYER
2015 CAP HIT
LIKELIHOOD

OG

Mackenzy Bernadeau

$2.8m

Slight

Bernadeau outlasted Nate Livings who was brought in during the same FA class. His ability to play both guard and center kept him in the fold, as it's a great gameday option to only use one roster slot to backup three positions. The issue is he's a huge step down in talent and Dallas will likely look elsewhere for this type of service.  ADVISED OFFER: $0. 

POSITION PLAYER
2015 CAP HIT
LIKELIHOOD

OT

Charles Brown

$550.5k

Low

Brown was signed when Eric Weems was deemed unacceptable, but rarely played. In fact, his 72 snaps were the least of any lineman who played in 2015. Dallas will likely use last year's 3rd round pick Chaz Green as the swing tackle for 2016 and give him the chance to prove an eventual Doug Free replacement. They'll likely look elsewhere for a fourth tackle, though Brown is certainly cheap enough to warrant consideration if they liked what they saw in practice. ADVISED OFFER: If any, vet minimum. 

POSITION PLAYER
2015 CAP HIT
LIKELIHOOD

QB

Matt Cassel

$1.76m

None

There was nothing about Matt Cassel's 2015 performance that indicates Dallas would want to include him in any plans for 2016 . ADVISED OFFER: $0 

POSITION PLAYER
2015 CAP HIT
LIKELIHOOD

FB

Tyler Clutts

$585K

Medium

Despite never finding a good one, or utilizing them to any degree that would make them an offensive weapon to be accounted for, Jason Garrett seems to always want a fullback. Expect Dallas to repeat 2015 where they signed Ray Agnew and Jed Collins, and have a free agency competition for cheap, non-compensatory FAs. Can you imagine losing a potential comp pick for a guy they know they'll barely use? ADVISED OFFER: Vet minimum with no guaranteed money. 

POSITION PLAYER
2015 CAP HIT
LIKELIHOOD

RB

Lance Dunbar

$1.5m

Low

Dunbar finally got his opportunity for extensive touches in 2015 and didn't disappoint. However, his injury history reared it's head and even though he should be fully recovered for camp, it's hard to see Dallas not protecting themselves and finding a change-of-pace back in free agency or the draft. ADVISED OFFER: $1-1.5m with performance escalators but low guaranteed money. 

POSITION PLAYER
2015 CAP HIT
LIKELIHOOD

TE

James Hanna

$686K

MODERATE-HIGH

The expectation was that Hanna would be allowed to walk, and he still might be, but Gavin Escobar's late-season achilles injury might change things. If Escobar misses most of 2016, Dallas would have to have a lot of faith in Swaim, who rarely got on the field for offense or special teams in 2015, to not bring back their best non-Witten run blocker . ADVISED OFFER: 3-years, $2.5-$3m total. 

POSITION PLAYER
2015 CAP HIT
LIKELIHOOD

OG

Ron Leary

$585K

HIGH

Leary is a restricted free agent and has proven to be a plus-starter when healthy. Dallas will likely tender Leary, likely at a second-round pick level, to ensure they are at least compensated should he sign somewhere else. With the improvement La'el Collins showed as the year went on, Dallas likely won't be interested in ponying up several years, and Leary probably wants to get somewhere else to start, but Dallas holds the cards. ADVISED OFFER: $2.6m one-year tender offer. 

POSITION PLAYER
2015 CAP HIT
LIKELIHOOD

RB

Robert Turbin

$272K

LOW

Turbin averaged 5 touches per game after he was signed in Dallas, a minimal amount. There's an outside shot, but it doesn't seem likely Turbin would be a first, second or third choice to bring back, but whenever you can sign a player to little or no guaranteed money, especially a young one, it's always possible. You can simply cut them should you draft someone or find another free agent. Turbin would fall into this category. ADVISED OFFER: None, for now. 


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