- Calvin Watkins, ESPN Staff Writer
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Summary: Butler finished with 21 solo tackles, three sacks and three pass breakups in the 2012 season. He played a backup role at outside linebacker and displayed an ability to make plays.
Why keep: There were eight Cowboys' players with at least one sack in 2012 and Butler was one of them. He had three sacks on the year and showed the defensive coaches he's good at rushing the passer. He's athletic enough to handle swift quarterbacks who try to run off the edge such as Robert Griffin III. Butler made plays on the ball as evident by forcing three fumbles during the season.
Why let go: He was so inconsistent. Yes, it's hard to play behind Anthony Spencer and DeMarcus Ware, but with the Cowboys moving to a 4-3 defense, Butler isn't big enough to play defensive end, but might have a chance to play strong side linebacker in a backup role. Butler's inconsistencies give you pause to bringing him back for 2013.
Best guess: It might be time to let Butler find somewhere else to play. He's made some nice plays as an outside linebacker but is too inconsistent. As far as depth goes, the Cowboys have struggled with that over the years with some poor drafts in the middle to late rounds. Butler shows signs of being a good player, but then again he disappears at times. It's time to let him test the market.