Too old? Not at all.
Losing a step? Probably not enough to notice.
Time to start thinking ahead? Always.
And I think we all know that Bobby Carpenter probably isn't the answer here. I say probably because he's still around after four years and had the best season of his career, handling the nickel and dime defense. But if the Cowboys really thought Carpenter was the answer, they wouldn't have drafted Jason Williams or maybe even Stephen Hodge last year. And they wouldn't have signed Brooking, Thomas or Akin Ayodele in the last few years.
Now, as for Williams, the Cowboys certainly haven't given up on him. He's a young guy from a small school who didn't do much as a rookie. He had a hard time getting on the field, much less ready to take over as the starter.
And really, taking over might even be too much to ask out of a first-round pick this year. James and Brooking aren't going anywhere right now and let me reiterate my point that this isn't a piece to try and unseat one of them.
But if the Cowboys are sitting there late in the first round and a guy like Alabama's Rolando McClain somehow falls a bit, or maybe a Brandon Spikes drops in the second round, I wouldn't hesitate to grab me a middle linebacker.
Regardless if it appears your starters are set for a little while.