While free agency doesn't technically start until the second week of March, it's clear the Cowboys will have to make some tough decisions before then regarding the defensive line.
Will Anthony Spencer get re-signed? What about placing the franchise tag on him again, although it will cost $10.63 million? And then what to do about Jay Ratliff, who was arrested just last week for DWI and has a contract that isn't too cap-friendly, considering his age and injury history over the last two years.
On the surface, it seems like keeping both Spencer and Ratliff just can't happen for financial reasons.
And that's where Jason Hatcher comes into play.
As the Cowboys move to a 4-3 scheme under Monte Kiffin, it's unsure just where Hatcher will line up in this defense. But for now, it's probably better to keep the options open.
I see a scenario where Hatcher has to wait until the cards are dealt before he really knows what spot he will play.
If Spencer is not re-signed, then I would think Hatcher starts out as a defensive end off the edge. If Ratliff doesn't return, then Hatcher might play more inside at defensive tackle.
One scout confirmed to me Monday that Hatcher's versatility is a tremendous asset for the Cowboys as they make these decisions.
With a listed size of 6-6, 305, Hatcher could seemingly play either end or tackle right now. He'll probably try to go either up or down 7-10 pounds if he knows which position he will play, but he really doesn't have to.
When we hear coaches and scouts talk about position flexibility, being versatile with the old adage "the more you can do," it appears this situation with Hatcher is a prime example.