With the recent release of DeMarcus Ware, does that give the team the ability to bring back Jason Hatcher? If not, then what is more likely to happen: the Cowboys look find Ware's replacement via draft or free agency? Who might they be interested in?
Nick: They better be interested in a few defensive linemen, and that's regardless of whether Hatcher comes back. Sure, it helps them re-sign Hatcher. Without cutting or restructuring Ware, they didn't have any room to sign someone like Hatcher or anyone that great. As for Ware's replacement, I think the Cowboys will look to find a bargain somewhere. But don't expect them to get into bidding wars for anyone.
Rowan: I would be surprised if neither Hatcher nor Henry Melton is on this team next season. I think they'll find a way to ink at least one of them. I'd be even more surprised if not even one of the three between Hatcher, Melton and Spencer are on the team next year. I think it's most likely the replacement for Ware, and for most of the losses, come via the draft. But the Cowboys should have enough money to get one or two proven commodities in free agency, even if they don't have a ton of spending money. I think Hatcher and Melton are the top candidates they look to first.
How are all of the cuts and restructures going to affect the cap situation the next few years? Would it not be better to "bite the bullet" these next couple years and lean more on the draft until the cap situation is relieved?
Nick:Spoken like someone not named Jason Garrett. I see your point, but I bet the head coach doesn't. Honestly, I think you do that approach when you have a coach, and a quarterback that don't have short windows. Time is running out on the Cowboys to succeed and I don't think the right pieces are here to "bite the bullet." It works for some teams and it can work for this one down the road, maybe. But if you're going to keep [embedded_ad] your head coach after three 8-8 seasons and give him another shot to get over the hump, you don't take that approach. I don't know this, but I can't imagine Garrett is too thrilled about losing Ware.
Rowan: The Cowboys will never say they're rebuilding or put together a team they don't think will compete. Jerry Jones has said one of his biggest disappointments is not having a Super Bowl with Tony Romo, and he's not going to waste away the years Romo's still available by completely "biting the bullet." The Ware cut won't leave any dead money in the future. It's more the restructures that are pushing the money back, which is exactly what ended up happening with Ware. At some point, players have to get paid what they're promised, or they won't be around anymore. I don't expect the Cowboys to have the cap room to be major players in free agency for a while.