IRVING, Texas - With so many expected free agents, including two of the best offensive players in football, the Cowboys have plenty of questions to answer here this offseason.
Some of them will be answered here before the start of the free-agent signing period on March 10. Others might take a few more weeks, and perhaps after the draft.
For now, DallasCowboys.com has come up with 10 pressing questions the Cowboys are facing this offseason and writers Bryan Broaddus, David Helman and Nick Eatman will try their best to answer them, giving a forecast of what could happen here in what should be an entertaining offseason.
Today's question focuses on the Cowboys' cornerback position.
What Should Cowboys' Offseason Approach Be At Cornerback?
David: First and foremost, I think Brandon Carr needs to be on this roster for 2015 – and he needs to be here at a reduced rate. That's easier said than done, because Carr has a say in those negotiations. But if you part ways with Carr, you're looking at just two or three cornerbacks experienced in this scheme. Carr has not lived up to his $50 million contract, but he played well down the stretch and I think he still has room for improvement – especially if the Cowboys can improve their pass rush. I would try my best to bring Sterling Moore back, but I wouldn't break the bank for him. There are free agents out there – Antonio Cromartie, Byron Maxwell and Brandon Flowers come to mind – but I'm not big on overpaying in free agency. Re-signing Moore and reducing Carr's salary would be a cheaper, viable option. With that taken care of, I'd like to see the Cowboys spend an early draft pick – potentially No. 27 or No. 60 – on a cornerback. Obviously, it didn't work out the last time the Cowboys drafted a cornerback high, but this would be a less-risky move. A top three of Orlando Scandrick, Brandon Carr and Sterling Moore with a high-profile rookie pushing for playing time and Tyler Patmon providing depth sounds like a solid, affordable option to me.
Nick: You always hate to go into a draft looking for any position but this might be the time where cornerback is a high priority in the first two rounds. Not only have the Cowboys taken offense in the first round of four of the last five years, but the one exception to the rule was a cornerback who hasn't panned out and someone that is hard to trust right now. Morris Claiborne's inure further clouds the cornerback spot and likely puts the Cowboys in a position to draft one. The hope would be to restructure Brandon Carr's deal. Hopefully he understands that if the Cowboys cut him, his contract will be reduced dramatically by his next team, so why not take the cut here and keep a starting job on a team that has a chance to win. If I couldn't get Sterling Moore back around the league minimum then I'll just take my chances with someone else. But the Cowboys need to draft a good, young corner because even if Carr returns and Orlando Scandrick plays well, you've got two corners getting close to 30. I think cornerback in the draft is the best way to go, even if that means entering the draft with an agenda.
Bryan: I have to give my buddy David Helman a great deal of credit for opening my eyes to the situation that the Cowboys potentially face at cornerback. When the season ended it was Brandon Carr and Orlando Scandrick as the starters with Sterling Moore as the nickel and Tyler Patmon as the dime. As a group they played well the final month of the season and into the playoffs but that lineup could look drastically different in 2015. There is uncertainty with Carr and would he take the reduction or would he force the club's hand to see if they would release him? There is also that same uncertainty with Moore who is an unrestricted free agent and would he be willing to leave for more security? They must also have to factor in the possibility that Morris Claiborne would start the season on the physically unable to perform list so there is no help there. The ideal plan would be for Carr to play for less money then use the draft to upgrade the overall position where there are several worthy options. Marcus Peters or Kevin Johnson or Alex Carter are players I've seen that would really help the group.