Commentary

The Cowboys' fate is in your hands

This time it's not up to Jerry Jones. We let you decide who stays and who goes

Updated: January 3, 2014, 11:09 AM ET
By Calvin Watkins | ESPNDallas.com

DALLAS -- The Dallas Cowboys finished 8-8 for the third straight season, once again losing the season finale -- this time to the Philadelphia Eagles -- with a chance to take the NFC East title and reach the postseason.

The Cowboys' roster and coaching staff underwent a major overhaul after last season and could be in store for significant changes again. With that, we look at who should stay and who should go in Take 'Em or Trash 'Em:

Offense

Tony Romo

Position: QB
Watkins: He finished 12th in yards, fifth in touchdowns thrown and ninth in completion percentage. A solid season and gutted through back pain to win in Washington. Take.

Take or trash Tony Romo?

  •  
    83%
  •  
    17%

(Total votes: 8,849)

Kyle Orton

Position: QB
Watkins: Played a solid game in the regular-season finale against the Eagles and proved to be worth the three-year, $10.5 million contract. Take.

Take or trash Kyle Orton?

  •  
    73%
  •  
    27%

(Total votes: 8,728)

Jon Kitna

Position: QB
Watkins: Veteran came from teaching math in high school to give the Cowboys help to prep for the finale. He was signed for just one week. Trash.

Take or trash Jon Kitna?

  •  
    5%
  •  
    95%

(Total votes: 8,603)

DeMarco Murray

Position: RB
Watkins: Had the first 1,000-yard season for a Cowboys running back since 2006. When given the chance, he produced. He needs more opportunities next year. Take.

Take or trash DeMarco Murray?

  •  
    97%
  •  
    3%

(Total votes: 8,415)

Phillip Tanner

Position: RB
Watkins: Played special teams and wasn't used much on the offense. Time to move on for somebody else. Trash.

Take or trash Phillip Tanner?

  •  
    20%
  •  
    80%

(Total votes: 8,047)

Joseph Randle

Position: RB
Watkins: In the two games Murray missed, Randle rushed for 91 yards on 33 carries. Couldn't overtake Tanner or Lance Dunbar on the depth chart. Need more from him in 2014. Take.

Take or trash Joseph Randle?

  •  
    67%
  •  
    33%

(Total votes: 7,980)

Lance Dunbar

Position: RB
Watkins: A knee injury ended his season in late November, but he proved to be a nice change-of-pace back. Health is a concern moving forward. Take.

Take or trash Lance Dunbar?

  •  
    80%
  •  
    20%

(Total votes: 7,587)

Tyler Clutts

Position: FB
Watkins: A nice late-season pickup who helped Murray in the run game. If the team doesn't tender Tanner, keeping a fullback could be the way to go. Take.

Take or trash Tyler Clutts?

  •  
    64%
  •  
    36%

(Total votes: 7,383)

Dez Bryant

Position: WR
Watkins: Had a Pro Bowl season in which he finished tied for third in touchdown catches in the NFL with 13. He's an emerging talent who could get a new contract. Take.

Take or trash Dez Bryant?

  •  
    95%
  •  
    5%

(Total votes: 8,115)

Terrance Williams

Position: WR
Watkins: Earned a nice little role as the season progressed. He should become the No. 2 receiver in 2014 because of his big-play ability and command of the offense. Take.

Take or trash Terrance Williams?

  •  
    97%
  •  
    3%

(Total votes: 7,782)

Miles Austin

Position: WR
Watkins: Had zero touchdowns in 13 games, battled through hamstring injuries and just didn't have an impact at all in 2013. Trash.

Take or trash Miles Austin?

  •  
    9%
  •  
    91%

(Total votes: 8,083)

Dwayne Harris

Position: WR
Watkins: He was a strong influence on special teams, particularly on kick returns with a 30.6 average. He can play a nice role on offense, too. Take.

Take or trash Dwayne Harris?

  •  
    95%
  •  
    5%

(Total votes: 7,636)

Cole Beasley

Position: WR
Watkins: The slot receiver finished with 39 catches and two touchdowns in 2013. That's more than Austin. He was very steady. Take.

Take or trash Cole Beasley?

  •  
    94%
  •  
    6%

(Total votes: 7,453)

Jason Witten

Position: TE
Watkins: The veteran tight end had eight touchdowns in 2013 and continues to play at an elite level. His leadership is unmatched. Take.

Take or trash Jason Witten?

  •  
    95%
  •  
    5%

(Total votes: 7,686)

Gavin Escobar

Position: TE
Watkins: Had a slow start and some questioned why he was a second-round pick. Played better as the season moved along. Has a bright future. Take.

Take or trash Gavin Escobar?

  •  
    86%
  •  
    14%

(Total votes: 7,327)

James Hanna

Position: TE
Watkins: A pretty good blocker who has a role on this team, mainly on special teams next year if Escobar emerges. Take.

Take or trash James Hanna?

  •  
    63%
  •  
    37%

(Total votes: 6,711)

Tyron Smith

Position: LT
Watkins: A Pro Bowl season for the former first-round pick from USC. He mauled defenders and was solid when the run game went in his direction. Take.

Take or trash Tyron Smith?

  •  
    98%
  •  
    2%

(Total votes: 6,735)

Darrion Weems

Position: LT
Watkins: He was inactive the entire season and should be asked to compete for a job next year. If not, then what's the point? Take.

Take or trash Darrion Weems?

  •  
    50%
  •  
    50%

(Total votes: 6,274)

Doug Free

Position: RT
Watkins: He took a pay cut and handled it professionally and played well, too. While we talk about Smith's play, Free was also solid. Take.

Take or trash Doug Free?

  •  
    82%
  •  
    18%

(Total votes: 6,404)

Jermey Parnell

Position: RT
Watkins: Parnell needs to move up the depth chart in 2014 and try to take Free's job. He failed to do that in 2013. Had a disappointing training camp. Take.

Take or trash Jermey Parnell?

  •  
    57%
  •  
    43%

(Total votes: 5,566)

Ronald Leary

Position: LG
Watkins: Benefited from having Smith alongside him in the run game. He was pushed around a few times, but overall had a good season. Take.

Take or trash Ronald Leary?

  •  
    86%
  •  
    14%

(Total votes: 6,036)

Travis Frederick

Position: C
Watkins: The rookie solidified the interior with his physical presence and ability to make the line calls. A good first-round pick. Take.

Take or trash Travis Frederick?

  •  
    98%
  •  
    2%

(Total votes: 6,303)

Phil Costa

Position: C
Watkins: Lost his starting job, but is a capable backup if called upon. Back problems were not an issue. Take.

Take or trash Phil Costa?

  •  
    59%
  •  
    41%

(Total votes: 6,041)

Mackenzy Bernadeau

Position: RG
Watkins: He lost his starting gig but regained it due to Brian Waters injury. Bernadeau played well with Free and should return. Take.

Take or trash Mackenzy Bernadeau?

  •  
    74%
  •  
    26%

(Total votes: 6,035)

Brian Waters

Position: RG
Watkins: Signed on Sept. 4 as a veteran presence. He played well until a triceps injury ended his season. His age -- he turns 37 in February -- is an issue. Trash.

Take or trash Brian Waters?

  •  
    48%
  •  
    52%

(Total votes: 6,143)

Ryan Cook

Position: C/G
Watkins: Missed the entire season with back injury. Team needs to find a younger player to back up the interior. Trash.

Take or trash Ryan Cook?

  •  
    13%
  •  
    87%

(Total votes: 5,951)

Defense

George Selvie

Position: DE
Watkins: A nice pickup during training camp who maintained his starting role and ended with seven sacks. Will compete for a starting job again. Take.

Take or trash George Selvie?

  •  
    96%
  •  
    4%

(Total votes: 5,761)

Everette Brown

Position: DE
Watkins: One of several players signed to help an injured defensive line. Young player might have a future in 2014. Take.

Take or trash Everette Brown?

  •  
    65%
  •  
    35%

(Total votes: 5,495)

Martez Wilson

Position: DE
Watkins: A late-season signee who had minimal impact. Trash.

Take or trash Martez Wilson?

  •  
    7%
  •  
    93%

(Total votes: 5,419)

DeMarcus Ware

Position: DE
Watkins: Looked good in training camp and at the start of the season, but injuries slowed him down. A pay cut might be in his future. Take.

Kyle Wilber

Position: DE
Watkins: Switched positions as the season moved on because of injuries at linebacker and defensive line and handled it well. Take.

Take or trash Kyle Wilber?

  •  
    85%
  •  
    15%

(Total votes: 5,374)

Ben Bass

Position: DE
Watkins: Placed on injured reserve in training camp. Should compete for a backup role. Take.

Take or trash Ben Bass?

  •  
    62%
  •  
    38%

(Total votes: 5,340)

Anthony Spencer

Position: DE
Watkins: Played in one game and is now a free agent coming off microfracture surgery. Should the Cowboys take a shot on him? Trash.

Take or trash Anthony Spencer?

  •  
    32%
  •  
    68%

(Total votes: 5,851)

Tyrone Crawford

Position: DE
Watkins: Team had high hopes for him until he tore his Achilles in training camp. He should be ready for 2014. Take.

Take or trash Tyrone Crawford?

  •  
    86%
  •  
    14%

(Total votes: 5,377)

Nick Hayden

Position: DT
Watkins: Had a solid start, but slumped at times during the season. He was a training camp signing that impressed everyone. Take.

Take or trash Nick Hayden?

  •  
    76%
  •  
    24%

(Total votes: 5,300)

Jarius Wynn

Position: DT
Watkins: Wynn was signed in October and displayed some skills in the pass rush. He should be given a chance to return. Take.

Take or trash Jarius Wynn?

  •  
    68%
  •  
    32%

(Total votes: 5,038)

Frank Kearse

Position: DT
Watkins: One of many late signings, but he won't return next year. Trash.

Jason Hatcher

Position: DT
Watkins: Had a team-leading 11 sacks and showed leadership when it was needed during the season. Struggled late and is a free agent. Trash.

Take or trash Jason Hatcher?

  •  
    53%
  •  
    47%

(Total votes: 5,680)

Corvey Irvin

Position: DT
Watkins: Irvin was signed in November to help the line through its health issues. Trash.

Take or trash Corvey Irvin?

  •  
    6%
  •  
    94%

(Total votes: 4,933)

Sean Lee

Position: LB
Watkins: The quarterback of the defense was solid in 2013. His health cost him games again, and that's got to change. Take.

Take or trash Sean Lee?

  •  
    92%
  •  
    8%

(Total votes: 5,745)

Orie Lemon

Position: LB
Watkins: Signed off Arizonas practice squad, he had little impact. Trash.

Take or trash Orie Lemon?

  •  
    10%
  •  
    90%

(Total votes: 4,935)

Cameron Lawrence

Position: LB
Watkins: Had 10 tackles and could be useful on special teams next season. Take.

Take or trash Cameron Lawrence?

  •  
    53%
  •  
    47%

(Total votes: 4,866)

DeVonte Holloman

Position: LB
Watkins: A spinal contusion slowed his season, yet he played well in the regular-season finale. Hes worth looking at for a starting job in 2014. Take.

Take or trash DeVonte Holloman?

  •  
    87%
  •  
    13%

(Total votes: 4,975)

Bruce Carter

Position: LB
Watkins: Failed to reach expectations in 2013 and was benched at one point for Ernie Sims. Carter needs to produce in 2014. Take.

Take or trash Bruce Carter?

  •  
    76%
  •  
    24%

(Total votes: 5,262)

Ernie Sims

Position: LB
Watkins: Played multiple linebacker spots, but he was inconsistent and injuries ended his season. Trash.

Take or trash Ernie Sims?

  •  
    19%
  •  
    81%

(Total votes: 5,005)

Justin Durant

Position: LB
Watkins: Started the season well until injuries ended things. If healthy, he can make an impact. Take.

Take or trash Justin Durant?

  •  
    72%
  •  
    28%

(Total votes: 4,896)

Brandon Carr

Position: CB
Watkins: Finished with three INTs and struggled toward the end of the season. It's probably time for a pay cut. Take.

Take or trash Brandon Carr?

  •  
    74%
  •  
    26%

(Total votes: 5,382)

Sterling Moore

Position: CB
Watkins: Veteran corner was cut in camp but signed late in the season and grabbed an interception. Take.

Take or trash Sterling Moore?

  •  
    66%
  •  
    34%

(Total votes: 4,964)

B.W. Webb

Position: CB
Watkins: Fourth-round pick from William & Mary looked lost too many times this year. Not sure if you want to give him another chance. Trash.

Take or trash B.W. Webb?

  •  
    34%
  •  
    66%

(Total votes: 5,067)

Morris Claiborne

Position: CB
Watkins: Health and personal issues aside, Claiborne didn't play well. Team should look to trade him. Trash.

Take or trash Morris Claiborne?

  •  
    58%
  •  
    42%

(Total votes: 5,785)

Orlando Scandrick

Position: CB
Watkins: Scandrick was the team's best corner but had only two interceptions. He took on the opponent's best receiver at times and did well. Take.

Take or trash Orlando Scandrick?

  •  
    89%
  •  
    11%

(Total votes: 5,231)

Barry Church

Position: S
Watkins: The Cowboys leading tackler with 135 proved to be a solid performer in the run game and was a physical presence at the position. Take.

Take or trash Barry Church?

  •  
    92%
  •  
    8%

(Total votes: 5,188)

Danny McCray

Position: S
Watkins: A special teams player who didn't have much of an impact. Trash.

Take or trash Danny McCray?

  •  
    17%
  •  
    83%

(Total votes: 4,929)

Jakar Hamilton

Position: S
Watkins: He didn't have much influence during the season. Trash.

Take or trash Jakar Hamilton?

  •  
    9%
  •  
    91%

(Total votes: 4,810)

Jeff Heath

Position: S
Watkins: One of the leaders on special teams was inconsistent in pass coverage on defense. Needs another year. Take.

Take or trash Jeff Heath?

  •  
    51%
  •  
    49%

(Total votes: 5,193)

J.J. Wilcox

Position: S
Watkins: Earned a starting job but lost it to Heath. Wilcox, a third-round pick, has a bright future. He'll get the time to develop. Take.

Take or trash J.J. Wilcox?

  •  
    84%
  •  
    16%

(Total votes: 5,002)

Matt Johnson

Position: S
Watkins: We've gone two seasons now with health problems costing him time on the field. It's time to move on. Trash.

Take or trash Matt Johnson?

  •  
    21%
  •  
    79%

(Total votes: 5,037)

Special Teams

Dan Bailey

Position: K
Watkins: He made his last 20 field goal tries and converted 16-of-17 attempts from 40 or more yards. He was nearly automatic. Take.

Take or trash Dan Bailey?

  •  
    99%
  •  
    1%

(Total votes: 5,060)

Chris Jones

Position: P
Watkins: Jones had a net average of 39.1 yards with 30 punts inside the 20. A good season. Take.

Take or trash Chris Jones?

  •  
    89%
  •  
    11%

(Total votes: 4,747)

L.P. Ladouceur

Position: LS
Watkins: One of the better deep snappers in the game had no problems getting the ball on kicks and punts. Take.

Take or trash L.P. Ladouceur?

  •  
    97%
  •  
    3%

(Total votes: 4,737)

Management/Coaches

Jerry Jones

Position: Owner/GM
Watkins: Fired Rob Ryan and made Jason Garrett give up the play calling. The moves failed. Jones, the owner, is good. Jones, the GM, is bad. Take.

Take or trash Jerry Jones?

  •  
    17%
  •  
    83%

(Total votes: 6,244)

Jason Garrett

Position: Head coach
Watkins: In three seasons he's 24-24, which isn't impressive. Still has game management issues, but the team plays hard for him. Take.

Take or trash Jason Garrett?

  •  
    49%
  •  
    51%

(Total votes: 6,265)

Monte Kiffin

Position: DC
Watkins: The defense allowed the third-most yards in league history. Injuries and ineffective play hurt Kiffin. His scheme wasn't good, either. Trash.

Take or trash Monte Kiffin?

  •  
    7%
  •  
    93%

(Total votes: 6,337)

Bill Callahan

Position: OC
Watkins: Took over play-calling duties and struggled to get run game and Bryant going consistently. Made too many questionable decisions. Trash.

Take or trash Bill Callahan?

  •  
    14%
  •  
    86%

(Total votes: 5,638)

Rich Bisaccia

Position: Special teams
Watkins: Solid first year despite mixing and matching guys on special teams at times. Harris emerged as a solid threat. Take.

Take or trash Rich Bisaccia?

  •  
    88%
  •  
    12%

(Total votes: 5,889)


Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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