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Mailbag: Making Tough Roster Decisions? Dak's Biggest Obstacle This Year?

JEFF GALLOLAFAYETTE, CO
When building the 53-man roster and a veteran vs. rookie decision has to be made (ex. Brice Butler or Noah Brown), what factors come in to play? Obviously the salary cap ramifications do, but do things like position (ex. a veteran RB should be better in pass protection)? How good the team is now?  Or is it purely who is the better player right now?

David:With this coaching staff, I think a lot of it comes down to trust. Who do they trust to do the job and do it effectively? That's the top priority. We've seen that year in and year out, as they've often opted for proven veterans over young talent. After that, you probably look at the long-term versus short-term prospects. For instance, the Cowboys have Noah Brown under contract for four years, whereas Brice Butler is on a one-year deal. I think that's important to consider. Unless it's a sizable contract, I think finances probably come last. You're not making or breaking your salary cap when you're deciding on the last few guys to make your team.

Rob: Generally speaking, if it's a dead-even tie between a rookie and a veteran, you might go with the younger player based on upside and perhaps salary. Using your example, I think Butler is the better player right now over Brown – and he's better insurance if Dez Bryant were to miss any time with injury.

DAVID WILDELETHBRIDGE, ALBERTA
As good as Dak played last year, there has been a pattern in recent NFL history of flash in the pan QBs who, for whatever reason, fizzle out a season or two later (RGIII). What do you see as the biggest threat to Dak repeating his 2016 success this year?

David: I'm positive this second season is going to be a challenge, but I'm not really worried about opponents "figuring out" Dak. It's not as if he was succeeding using gimmicks last year. He obviously has a running element to his game, but I'm confident he can develop into an even better pocket passer. Russell Wilson is a great blueprint for him to follow. My biggest concern for 2017 is that his life might get a lot harder if the offensive line struggles to replace Ron Leary and Doug Free.

Rob: The difference between Prescott and, say, RGIII, whom you mentioned, was last year he was just as good from the pocket as he was using his feet to make plays. If there's anything he's got to be mindful of, it's knowing teams will scheme to take away his tendencies and his strengths. But that's what he spent all offseason improving. Maybe the best thing about Prescott's game is he doesn't force much. If a guy's open, he throws to him. He's got the players around him to simply take what's given to him.

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