Jerry Jones thinks the Cowboys, as constructed last season, are good enough to *compete *for a Super Bowl, meaning at least good enough to go 9-7, sneak into the playoffs and, hopefully, get on a run.
He wants to improve the personnel, promising to do so through a combination of the draft, free agency and internal promotions, but doesn't believe there is any one position that the Cowboys absolutely have to have new talent.
"I don't see a must," Jones said. "I don't see a position that, if get to opening day and don't have a new face there, that is terminal for us relative to competing."
It's easy to read plenty of gamesmanship into that statement. Jones was likely playing his cards close to the vest, trying not to tip off other teams as to the Cowboys' wishlist, but also sending a statement to some of his own free agents-to-be that the team could take them or leave them, basically.
Safety Abe Elam, for instance, played on a one-year contract last year. He didn't allow too many big plays, and probably made even less of his own, but was at least OK, a placeholder, if nothing else, until something better comes along.
Elam is the kind of player the Cowboys could be interested in keeping, at the right price, but probably only at the right price, and Jones basically said as much.
"We don't have Elam (under contract)," Jones said. "You've got to point to Elam. Well, Elam can still be on this team. It's not impossible for Elam not to be on the team."
If Elam were gone, third-year pro Barry Church would likely step into the starting safety role, unless and until the Cowboys added someone in free agency or the draft.
Would you sign Elam to a modest deal for some security at strong safety, or let him walk and take a stab at getting better?