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Offseason Forecast: Dallas Cowboys

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With the offseason officially underway, Around The NFL will examine what's next for all 32 teams. Next up: The Dallas Cowboys.

What's changing?


With the offseason underway, Around The NFL explores what's next for all 32 teams.

AFC East:
AFC North:
AFC South:
AFC West:
NFC East:
NFC North:
NFC South:
NFC West:

The coaching staff is more stable than it has been in nearly a decade. Scott Linehan and Rod Marinelli both did fantastic jobs last season as coordinators, and Jason Garrett has a new contract. The roster, however, is about to undergo a massive overhaul. Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray get all the ink, but the Cowboys have six other starters and additional key reserves set to hit free agency. As usual, they won't have a ton of cap room to play with.

Biggest free agents


» Dez Bryant His tenure in Dallas hasn't always been smooth, but there's no way the Cowboys will let him go. There's very little chance that Bryant comes to terms on a new contract before they place the franchise tag on him. The situation could linger all offseason.

» DeMarco Murray: Garrett says that you can't just plug in a running back and expect Murray's production, but Dallas' weak previous contract offers speak louder. In a deep class of free agents and draftable running backs, Murray is likely to get more money elsewhere.

» Doug Free: Once badly overpaid by the Cowboys as a superstar, Free has settled in as a solid starter. Dallas won't want to mess with their offensive line chemistry, but they have a lot of free agents to deal with.

» Rolando McClain: His recent failed drug test could actually help the Cowboys keep McClain at a reduced rate.

» Bruce Carter: Despite some big plays over the years, his production never matched his talent.

Other key free agents: CB Sterling Moore, DE George Selvie, DT Nick Hayden, LB Justin Durant, WR Dwayne Harris.

On the way out?


» Brandon Carr: The Cowboys will try to reduce Carr's salary. He has disappointed in Big D, but the team is thin at the position with Morris Claiborne hurt and Sterling Moore set for free agency.

What they need


Dallas' free agency issues distract from a larger point: This is a roster with a ton of needs. They have no pass rushers who win one-on-one matchups. (A full season of DeMarcus Lawrence will help.) The secondary is not that talented and some of the pieces don't fit their system. The return of a healthy Sean Lee will help the linebacker group, but this was a mediocre defense that was carried by one of the best offenses in the league. They can't count on their running game dominating so much again.

Offseason crystal ball


Dez Bryant should stay on the franchise tag. DeMarco Murray, Doug Free, and Bruce Carter figure to go elsewhere. Brandon Carr is a strong candidate to get cut because Jerry Jones isn't going to want to sit around in free agency and watch others spend money. One season after getting talked out of Johnny Manziel, Jones will put all his chips on the table with a big name as he desperately searches for a fourth Super Bowl title. If Adrian Peterson becomes available, no one is going to out-bid the Cowboys.

The latest Around The NFL Podcast breaks down all the latest from the combine and gives updates on Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson. Find more Around The NFL content on NFL NOW.

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