Commentary

Dallas Cowboys' future in your hands

We're taking power from Jerry Jones and letting you decide who stays/who goes

Updated: January 2, 2013, 1:30 PM ET
By Calvin Watkins | ESPNDallas.com

DALLAS -- The Dallas Cowboys finished the year 8-8, losing the regular-season finale against the Washington Redskins in a game they needed to win to take the NFC East title and reach the postseason.

After a season in which the front office had to make multiple extreme makeovers, the Cowboys' roster will definitely need another. With that, we play Take 'Em or Trash 'Em:

Offense

Tony Romo

Position: QB
Watkins: A solid season, but we need some deep playoff wins to justify a long-term contract extension. Take.

Take or trash Tony Romo?

  •  
    66%
  •  
    34%

(Total votes: 18,842)

Kyle Orton

Position: QB
Watkins: If something happened to Tony Romo, Orton is more than capable of handling the position. Take.

Take or trash Kyle Orton?

  •  
    76%
  •  
    24%

(Total votes: 17,988)

DeMarco Murray

Position: RB
Watkins: Cowboys missed him badly when he was hurt, and his production when he played made a noticeable difference. Take.

Take or trash DeMarco Murray?

  •  
    96%
  •  
    4%

(Total votes: 18,116)

Felix Jones

Position: RB
Watkins: First-round bust didn't make enough impact plays. Time to let him find another team. Trash.

Take or trash Felix Jones?

  •  
    12%
  •  
    88%

(Total votes: 17,463)

Phillip Tanner

Position: RB
Watkins: Couldn't surpass Jones on the depth chart. It might be time to look elsewhere. Trash.

Take or trash Phillip Tanner?

  •  
    23%
  •  
    77%

(Total votes: 16,639)

Lance Dunbar

Position: RB
Watkins: He's got speed but needs another year of seasoning. Take.

Take or trash Lance Dunbar?

  •  
    73%
  •  
    27%

(Total votes: 16,486)

Lawrence Vickers

Position: FB
Watkins: Had decent season. Provided leadership after death of Jerry Brown. Take.

Take or trash Lawrence Vickers?

  •  
    83%
  •  
    17%

(Total votes: 15,822)

Jason Witten

Position: TE
Watkins: An elite player who doesn't get enough praise. Take.

Take or trash Jason Witten?

  •  
    97%
  •  
    3%

(Total votes: 16,969)

John Phillips

Position: TE
Watkins: It's hard to play behind Jason Witten, but Phillips was average the entire season. Trash.

Take or trash John Phillips?

  •  
    52%
  •  
    48%

(Total votes: 15,828)

James Hanna

Position: TE
Watkins: He improved his blocking as the season progressed and has a bright future. Moves to No. 2 next season. Take.

Take or trash James Hanna?

  •  
    86%
  •  
    14%

(Total votes: 15,415)

Miles Austin

Position: WR
Watkins: Hamstring and hip problems popped up, and he finished with 943 yards. We expected more from a $54 million WR. Take.

Take or trash Miles Austin?

  •  
    53%
  •  
    47%

(Total votes: 16,852)

Dez Bryant

Position: WR
Watkins: Has been fantastic in 2012 on and off the field, and his chemistry with Tony Romo was excellent. Take.

Take or trash Dez Bryant?

  •  
    95%
  •  
    5%

(Total votes: 16,944)

Kevin Ogletree

Position: WR
Watkins: After a sterling performance in Week 1, he tailed off the rest of the way. Trash.

Take or trash Kevin Ogletree?

  •  
    18%
  •  
    82%

(Total votes: 15,857)

Dwayne Harris

Position: WR
Watkins: Solved the return problems and improved as a wide receiver. Take.

Take or trash Dwayne Harris?

  •  
    94%
  •  
    6%

(Total votes: 15,706)

Cole Beasley

Position: WR
Watkins: Got more playing time as the season progressed and should be in the mix for No. 3 spot in 2013. Take.

Take or trash Cole Beasley?

  •  
    82%
  •  
    18%

(Total votes: 15,336)

Danny Coale

Position: WR
Watkins: Worth another look after rookie got hurt prior to season. Take.

Take or trash Danny Coale?

  •  
    62%
  •  
    38%

(Total votes: 13,695)

Tyron Smith

Position: LT
Watkins: He said he wanted to reach the Pro Bowl. We're still waiting. Take.

Take or trash Tyron Smith?

  •  
    91%
  •  
    9%

(Total votes: 14,019)

Nate Livings

Position: LG
Watkins: Of the two free-agent signings at guard, this was the best one. Take.

Take or trash Nate Livings?

  •  
    77%
  •  
    23%

(Total votes: 13,575)

Ryan Cook

Position: C
Watkins: When healthy he was fine, but team needs a better player at this position. Trash.

Take or trash Ryan Cook?

  •  
    36%
  •  
    64%

(Total votes: 13,264)

Mackenzy Bernadeau

Position: RG
Watkins: A switch to center in 2013 could be the best thing for him. Take.

Take or trash Mackenzy Bernadeau?

  •  
    57%
  •  
    43%

(Total votes: 13,140)

Doug Free

Position: RT
Watkins: Was inconsistent and shared RT starting job. Team would save $7M as a post-June 1 cut. Trash.

Take or trash Doug Free?

  •  
    7%
  •  
    93%

(Total votes: 14,141)

Jermey Parnell

Position: OL
Watkins: Forged a rotation at right tackle and picked up more playing time as season moved along. Take.

Take or trash Jermey Parnell?

  •  
    78%
  •  
    22%

(Total votes: 11,853)

Derrick Dockery

Position: OL
Watkins: A veteran player who is a quality backup. Team might want to go younger in 2013. Trash.

Take or trash Derrick Dockery?

  •  
    17%
  •  
    83%

(Total votes: 11,789)

Ronald Leary

Position: G
Watkins: A late-season call-up who might compete for a starting spot in 2013. Take.

Take or trash Ronald Leary?

  •  
    69%
  •  
    31%

(Total votes: 11,547)

Kevin Kowalski

Position: OL
Watkins: Another player who needs playing time. Maybe he battles Ronald Leary for a starting job. Take.

Take or trash Kevin Kowalski?

  •  
    68%
  •  
    32%

(Total votes: 10,934)

David Arkin

Position: OL
Watkins: It's just time for him to find another place to work. Trash.

Take or trash David Arkin?

  •  
    12%
  •  
    88%

(Total votes: 11,011)

Darrion Weems

Position: OL
Watkins: A project who needs a full training camp to show coaches what he can do. Take.

Take or trash Darrion Weems?

  •  
    59%
  •  
    41%

(Total votes: 10,777)

Phil Costa

Position: C
Watkins: Better than advertised, but should take a backup role next year. Take.

Take or trash Phil Costa?

  •  
    63%
  •  
    37%

(Total votes: 11,890)

Defense

Marcus Spears

Position: DT
Watkins: A trusted veteran who can still fill a role. Take.

Take or trash Marcus Spears?

  •  
    77%
  •  
    23%

(Total votes: 12,133)

Jay Ratliff

Position: NT
Watkins: Declining play, health issues and spat with Jerry Jones. He's expendable. Trash.

Take or trash Jay Ratliff?

  •  
    37%
  •  
    63%

(Total votes: 12,686)

Jason Hatcher

Position: DT
Watkins: Played well and developed into one of the locker room leaders. Take.

Take or trash Jason Hatcher?

  •  
    92%
  •  
    8%

(Total votes: 11,862)

Sean Lissemore

Position: DL
Watkins: Team gave him a new contract and he rewarded them with solid play. Take.

Take or trash Sean Lissemore?

  •  
    90%
  •  
    10%

(Total votes: 11,176)

Josh Brent

Position: NT
Watkins: Was productive on the field, but his arrest halts his career. Take.

Take or trash Josh Brent?

  •  
    26%
  •  
    74%

(Total votes: 12,104)

Kenyon Coleman

Position: DL
Watkins: A veteran who could be replaced by younger players. Trash.

Take or trash Kenyon Coleman?

  •  
    18%
  •  
    82%

(Total votes: 11,086)

Brian Schaefering

Position: DL
Watkins: One of several late-season pickups brought in because of injuries. Trash.

Take or trash Brian Schaefering?

  •  
    9%
  •  
    91%

(Total votes: 10,095)

Ben Bass

Position: DL
Watkins: The rookie showed some promise and should be given a chance to fight for a job in 2013. Take.

Take or trash Ben Bass?

  •  
    74%
  •  
    26%

(Total votes: 10,075)

Tyrone Crawford

Position: DL
Watkins: Received lots of playing time his rookie season and can only get better. Take.

Take or trash Tyrone Crawford?

  •  
    89%
  •  
    11%

(Total votes: 10,227)

Rob Callaway

Position: DL
Watkins: With more playing time, Callaway has a chance to become a productive player. Take.

Take or trash Rob Callaway?

  •  
    68%
  •  
    32%

(Total votes: 9,803)

Anthony Spencer

Position: OLB
Watkins: Had best season, but should he again be franchised for $9.4 million? Trash.

Take or trash Anthony Spencer?

  •  
    76%
  •  
    24%

(Total votes: 11,891)

Dan Connor

Position: ILB
Watkins: Veteran filled a void created by injuries to the Cowboys. Take.

Take or trash Dan Connor?

  •  
    71%
  •  
    29%

(Total votes: 10,920)

Sean Lee

Position: ILB
Watkins: Was putting together a great season until injury cut it short. Take.

Take or trash Sean Lee?

  •  
    98%
  •  
    2%

(Total votes: 12,294)

DeMarcus Ware

Position: OLB
Watkins: Slowed by injuries, but was still a dangerous man on the field. Take.

Take or trash DeMarcus Ware?

  •  
    95%
  •  
    5%

(Total votes: 12,731)

Victor Butler

Position: OLB
Watkins: Playing time was cut, and he didn't show enough playmaking ability. Trash.

Take or trash Victor Butler?

  •  
    37%
  •  
    63%

(Total votes: 10,980)

Bruce Carter

Position: ILB
Watkins: Emerged as one of the standout defensive players. Has a bright future. Take.

Take or trash Bruce Carter?

  •  
    97%
  •  
    3%

(Total votes: 11,326)

Ernie Sims

Position: ILB
Watkins: A midseason pickup who did some good things, but team wants to get younger. Trash.

Take or trash Ernie Sims?

  •  
    45%
  •  
    55%

(Total votes: 10,753)

Alex Albright

Position: OLB
Watkins: He was too inconsistent, but was able to fill a need at times. Take.

Take or trash Alex Albright?

  •  
    66%
  •  
    34%

(Total votes: 10,452)

Brady Poppinga

Position: ILB
Watkins: Late-season addition to a defense that needed help after injuries. Trash.

Take or trash Brady Poppinga?

  •  
    17%
  •  
    83%

(Total votes: 9,783)

Kyle Wilber

Position: OLB
Watkins: Wanted to see the rookie more, but another training camp will help. Take.

Take or trash Kyle Wilber?

  •  
    75%
  •  
    25%

(Total votes: 9,511)

Orie Lemon

Position: LB
Watkins: Needed more playing time, but injury limited his opportunities. Take.

Take or trash Orie Lemon?

  •  
    61%
  •  
    39%

(Total votes: 9,490)

Caleb McSurdy

Position: LB
Watkins: Should be ready for minicamps after recovery from torn Achilles. Take.

Take or trash Caleb McSurdy?

  •  
    61%
  •  
    39%

(Total votes: 9,369)

Brandon Carr

Position: CB
Watkins: Played through personal tragedy and did a nice job. Take.

Take or trash Brandon Carr?

  •  
    97%
  •  
    3%

(Total votes: 11,457)

Morris Claiborne

Position: CB
Watkins: Played well in his rookie year and will only get better. Take.

Take or trash Morris Claiborne?

  •  
    97%
  •  
    3%

(Total votes: 11,608)

Gerald Sensabaugh

Position: FS
Watkins: One of the Cowboys' tough guys. Had a solid season. Take.

Take or trash Gerald Sensabaugh?

  •  
    75%
  •  
    25%

(Total votes: 11,118)

Danny McCray

Position: SS
Watkins: The special-teams ace filled in on defense and played nicked up the latter half of the season. Take.

Take or trash Danny McCray?

  •  
    67%
  •  
    33%

(Total votes: 10,502)

Mike Jenkins

Position: CB
Watkins: Was average this season but vital because of injuries. He wants to test the market. Trash.

Take or trash Mike Jenkins?

  •  
    30%
  •  
    70%

(Total votes: 11,404)

Orlando Scandrick

Position: CB
Watkins: Suffered a hand injury that ended his season. Take.

Take or trash Orlando Scandrick?

  •  
    61%
  •  
    39%

(Total votes: 10,752)

Barry Church

Position: SS
Watkins: Emerged as strong starter and was missed after his injury. Take.

Take or trash Barry Church?

  •  
    90%
  •  
    10%

(Total votes: 10,393)

Michael Coe

Position: CB
Watkins: Didn't do enough to warrant a look for 2013. Trash.

Take or trash Michael Coe?

  •  
    9%
  •  
    91%

(Total votes: 9,798)

Sterling Moore

Position: CB
Watkins: Wouldn't mind seeing him again once he knows the entire defensive package. Take.

Take or trash Sterling Moore?

  •  
    75%
  •  
    25%

(Total votes: 9,477)

Charlie Peprah

Position: S
Watkins: Brought a physical presence to the field and could help defense. Take.

Take or trash Charlie Peprah?

  •  
    74%
  •  
    26%

(Total votes: 9,621)

Eric Frampton

Position: S
Watkins: Has played well at times and could be a future backup with a full training camp. Take.

Take or trash Eric Frampton?

  •  
    69%
  •  
    31%

(Total votes: 9,494)

Matt Johnson

Position: S
Watkins: The young safety battled injuries all season. Take.

Take or trash Matt Johnson?

  •  
    68%
  •  
    32%

(Total votes: 9,535)

Special Teams

Brian Moorman

Position: P
Watkins: A solid pickup when Chris Jones got hurt, but he'll likely move on. Trash.

Take or trash Brian Moorman?

  •  
    15%
  •  
    85%

(Total votes: 9,743)

Dan Bailey

Position: K
Watkins: Converted 93.3 percent of his FGs in 2012 and quietly has become a solid kicker. Take.

Take or trash Dan Bailey?

  •  
    98%
  •  
    2%

(Total votes: 10,455)

Chris Jones

Position: P
Watkins: Strong start before a knee injury ended his season. Should return to form in 2013. Take.

Take or trash Chris Jones?

  •  
    88%
  •  
    12%

(Total votes: 9,645)

L.P. Ladouceur

Position: LS
Watkins: Dependable soon-to-be free agent didn't have a bad snap all season. Take.

Take or trash L.P. Ladouceur?

  •  
    94%
  •  
    6%

(Total votes: 9,432)

Management/Coaches

Jerry Jones

Position: GM
Watkins: He's not giving up his duties but a majority of his draft picks were hurt and FA signings were inconsistent. Take.

Take or trash Jerry Jones?

  •  
    22%
  •  
    78%

(Total votes: 10,300)

Jason Garrett

Position: Head coach
Watkins: Responsible for Ravens loss, but rallied the team to brink of NFC East title. Take.

Take or trash Jason Garrett?

  •  
    47%
  •  
    53%

(Total votes: 12,619)

Rob Ryan

Position: D-coordinator
Watkins: Lost five starters and two key backups. He simply ran out of bodies. Take.

Take or trash Rob Ryan?

  •  
    65%
  •  
    35%

(Total votes: 12,635)

Joe DeCamillis

Position: Special teams
Watkins: Found punter after Chris Jones' injury; Harris emerged as solid threat on returns. Take.

Take or trash Joe DeCamillis?

  •  
    67%
  •  
    33%

(Total votes: 11,639)


Calvin Watkins covers the Houston Rockets and the NBA for ESPN.com. He joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Dallas Cowboys and Texas Rangers as well as colleges, boxing and high school sports.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

MORE NFL HEADLINES