More Questions Than Answers

With the signing of little-known guard Kyle Kosier as well as the departure of kickers Ryan Longwell and Matt Bryant from the open market, more questions than answers persist for the Cowboys headed into the heart of free agency.

The first 36 hours of free agency have officially passed us by, and the Dallas Cowboys have already added the services of ... drum roll please ... Kyle Kosier and Andre Gurode?

Excuse me if I don't get excited.

Gurode was considered to be an inconsistent lineman at best during his first four seasons in Dallas, and after another average year in 2005 competing with Al Johnson for the starting center spot, the Cowboys have elected to re-sign the former second-round pick to help bolster their offensive line.

"Bolster their offensive line?" Am I missing something?

Kosier, a career back-up with the Lions and 49ers who has potential to move into the starting lineup after recording 11 starts last season, gives Dallas a versatile lineman who is entering the prime of his career.

That's good.

And while his signing doesn't garner the national recognition that Anthony Henry or Marco Rivera did last year, it does appear to be a quality pick up, especially considering Kosier could play either guard or right tackle next season.

That's good too.

But still, the first day of free agency for the Cowboys leaves a lot to be desired.

Where's Matt Bryant? Where's Ryan Longwell? Where's a former New York Jet for pete's sake? Where is the player that will help get the Cowboys back to the Super Bowl?

And dare I say ... where is T.O.?

Terrell Owens, of course, is not a free agent yet. He's still a part of the Philadelphia Eagles, but will likely be released this week unless a last-minute trade can be worked out with a team like Kansas City. At that time, the Cowboys would be free to sign him, and at that time, maybe the organization will be ready to make its "big announcement."

After all, Dallas is still well under the salary cap and free agency has just started. There's plenty of time to sign the type of player to help the Cowboys make a deep playoff run.

And no, while we are talking about players I'm not forgeting about OLB Akin Ayodele.

Ayodele visited Dallas yesterday and would be the perfect fit in the Cowboys' 3-4 defensive scheme. He's been a solid starter the past four seasons in Jacksonville and he brings more experience to the table than a player like Kosier. In addition, considering that Dallas needs to add another quality 'backer to its 2006 line-up, especially with UFA Scott Fujita headed elsewhere, Ayodele would be a quality addition, provided he can be signed for the right price.

"The right price" appears to be the hold up however, as the Cowboys entered negotiations with Ayodele's agent yesterday, with no deal reached as of early Sunday morning.

So what's next for the Cowboys in free agency?

Signing Ayodele would be a great start. Signing a quality kicker like Adam Vinatieri would be another great start. However the Cowboys have said all along they felt like they could be more selective and be better bargain shoppers this year. Ayodele would seem to fit that mold while Vinatieri would not.

For now, Dallas has needs on the offensive line, linebacker, special teams and wide receiver. How those needs are addressed going forward will obviously play a major role in just how good this team can be in 2006.

And while the Cowboys can continue to be bargain shoppers to a certain extent, if history is any indication of what to expect, owner Jerry Jones won't be able to sit on that big pile of money too much longer.

Will the Cowboys sign Terrell Owens? Will Jerry Jones finally spend the money needed to sign one of the league's top kickers? Are the Cowboys done addressing their needs on the offensive line until the draft?

Until that pile starts to shrink, these questions surrounding the Cowboys' 2006 free agency agenda will remain unanswered.

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