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
» 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.
On the way out?
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.