The 6-10 record of 2010 hasn't affected the Cowboys being one of the Super Bowl favorites next year.
And that means finding the right coaches for this year's staff. That means making the right decisions here in free agency.
If they come to the conclusion that guys like Marion Barber, Terence Newman, Roy Williams, Leonard Davis, Marc Colombo or whoever else can't play for this team next season, they simply can't miss.
And it's not easy. The Cowboys get blamed for being the team that waits too long on players before cutting ties. It happened over and over in the early 2000s with guys like Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Leon Lett, Daryl Johnston and so on.
But for every case like that, there might be a Larry Allen or even a Flozell Adams, who clearly has a little bit left in the tank. That's always the risk you have to consider. You wonder if Kansas City is happy to let Tony Gonzalez go, knowing he's still going to Pro Bowls some two years later.
So if the Cowboys are going to cut these players, they need to be prepared for Barber to become a solid No. 2 back somewhere and possibly be re-energized in a different role. Or maybe Newman goes to another team with a better pass rush and overall defensive philosophy and has another great year, possibly back to the Pro Bowl, since he's only one season removed from it.
Whatever decisions are made, the Cowboys don't have a prayer to get even close to competing for Super Bowls, or even making the playoffs if they don't make the right moves right here in the next few weeks, even the next two months when you include the draft.
Because come next fall, this team will have talent. They'll have a bright, young coach who showed some promise in his eight-game interim stint. They'll have a three-time Pro Bowl quarterback who can make plays and win games.
They'll have the pieces in place to make a run. But just how far can they go? Well that will be determined by the next few months.
Maybe that's when next year's odds should come out.