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Thursday, January 23, 2014
The next big thing: Cowboys

By Todd Archer

IRVING, Texas -- Since the Dallas Cowboys' season ended with their NFC East championship game loss to the Philadelphia Eagles, they have had plenty of time to figure out what to do next.

So far they have stood pat with the coaching staff, but they can't do that when it comes to players.

The biggest in-house personnel decision the Cowboys will make this offseason will be DeMarcus Ware’s future. He is set to count $16.003 million against the salary cap. That’s too much for just about any player, let alone a defensive end coming off a six-sack season in which he played 55 percent of the snaps. The Cowboys have to determine how they lower that cap figure with either a restructure, pay cut or re-work with incentives.

The Cowboys can’t be big players in free agency, which means Jason Hatcher will likely play elsewhere in 2014. But that doesn’t mean they can’t find cheap upgrades to help on either side of the ball.

When it comes to the draft, the Cowboys have to find defensive players ready to contribute immediately. They need help at every level of the defense, but especially along the line where George Selvie and Nick Hayden could be the only returning starters depending on the futures of Ware and Hatcher.