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Friday, July 29, 2011
What now for the Dallas Cowboys?

By Dan Graziano

I have no issue with the Dallas Cowboys making their best push for Nnamdi Asomugha. He's a game-changing player, which means he's an offseason game plan-changing player. And once they had an idea they might be able to get him, the Cowboys were right to take the shot. Sure, they need two starting safeties and they kind of like their cornerbacks. But as good as Mike Jenkins and Terence Newman may be, neither is in Asomugha's class because few are. Had they got him, they could have gone cheaper at safety because Asomugha would have been enough of an upgrade over Newman (who'd have been cut) to make that work. It's a stars' league and a passing league, and Asomugha is a star who shuts down passing games.

But they didn't get him, as you surely know by now. The Eagles did, which from the Cowboys' standpoint is a kick right in the star on the side of the helmet because they're going to have to play against him at least twice a season. Life goes on and so does an offseason that still requires Dallas to fill out its defense. They still need the same things they needed before they started after Asomugha -- two starting safeties and defensive line help. They managed to bring back defensive end Marcus Spears during Friday afternoon's madness, but they still need someone to start on the other side of Jay Ratliff.

Cap room remains an issue. They won't be able to use the savings they would have got by cutting Newman, because now they need to keep Newman. So it's not as if they can go out and sign anyone they want. But there are still nice options available at safety. It wouldn't be a surprise to see them bring in Abram Elam, who played well for new defensive coordinator Rob Ryan last season in Cleveland, and re-sign Gerald Sensabaugh. And defensive end Cullen Jenkins is still out there as someone who could come in and help the pass rush. If the Cowboys spend the next couple of days signing Elam, Sensabaugh and Jenkins -- or some combination of players that resembles that -- the memory of the day they spent chasing Asomugha could fade very quickly.