In Bledsoe, Parcells is reunited with a quarterback he trusts. Providing the immobile Bledsoe enough time to throw should be a concern, though. In recent seasons, he has been prone to holding the the ball too long and taking sacks. An upstart rushing attack led by second-year back Julius Jones should take some pressure off Bledsoe, but the team must find a right tackle to solidify an improved offensive line.
Adding some size and strength to the defense has been an ongoing effort. Ferguson should serve as a legitimate run-stuffing interior lineman. Veteran linebacker Dexter Coakley was cut for salary-cap reasons, but the Cowboys like the physical play of his replacement, Bradie James.
Defensive end has been a position the Cowboys have not been able to solidify. Talks with the Saints for standout defensive end Darren Howard have been ongoing, but a deal isn't expected anytime soon.
With the 11th and 20th overall picks in the draft, the Cowboys would like to add speed and playmakers. With the first choice, they could improve their questionable defense with Texas outside linebacker Derrick Johnson or Maryland defensive end (and potential outside linebacker) Shawne Merriman.
With their second selection, the Cowboys are expected to look to for a deep threat in the passing game, with Roddy White and Troy Williamson being potential targets. Offensive tackle could be a viable option if one of the top prospects – Alex Barron and Jammal Brown – are on the board.
Defensive end – Lacking depth at this position, the Cowboys are expected to select a defensive end early in the draft. Greg Ellis is the only legitimate starting quality defensive end on the roster.
Linebacker – In switching to the 3-4 defense, the Cowboys lack quality and depth. Without bigger, pass-rushing linebackers, they must look toward the draft to fill the holes.
Offensive tackle – Both positions are questionable, with the right tackle spot being a major concern for an average offensive line.
Wide receiver – The combination of Keyshawn Johnson, Terry Glenn and Quincy Morgan is capable, but it remains questionable due to injury issues. Johnson is aging and is not nearly the threat he once was, Glenn is often injured and Morgan battles inconsistency. A receiver is needed to stretch the field and add an element of a vertical passing game.
Free safety – Darren Woodson retired due to back problems, and Tony Dixon was inconsistent. Keith Davis will get an opportunity to land the starting spot opposite Roy Williams, but the team needs to improve the quality and depth at the position through free agency or the draft.
FREE AGENCY AND OFFSEASON
FRANCHISE PLAYER: None.
TRANSITION PLAYER: None.
RESTRICTED FREE AGENTS: RB Darian Barnes (tendered at $656,000 with no compensation), PK Billy Cundiff (tendered at $656,000 with no compensation), CB Pete Hunter (tendered at $656,000 with fifth-round pick as compensation), OT Kurt Vollers (tendered at $656,000 with no compensation), OL Tyson Walter (tendered at $656,000 with sixth-round pick as compensation).
EXCLUSIVE RIGHTS FREE AGENTS: QB Tony Romo (tendered at $380,000).
PLAYERS ACQUIRED: QB Drew Bledsoe (Bills), NT Jason Ferguson (Jets), CB Anthony Henry (Browns), OG Marco Rivera (Packers).