“Should I stay or should I go?” Who will the Cowboys choose to re-sign this offseason?

Now that Dallas has officially transitioned into offseason mode, the process of evaluating draft prospects and free agent targets kicks up a notch.

But the first step, before any of that, is evaluating your own free agents and determining who is worth keeping and who it’s time to say goodbye to.

Here is a list of Dallas’ unrestricted free agents, courtesy of the Dallas Morning News.

Mark Sanchez – Quarterback – 2017 season age: 31

Sanchez was hastily signed on September 3, following Tony Romo’s injury in the pre-season. While the team seemed confident at the time in Dak Prescott’s ability, he was still a rookie and the organization felt a veteran presence was needed at backup over Jameill Showers.

Sanchez wasn’t needed much this year. He had some mop-up duty in the final drive at Cleveland, and was used as a piñata for the season finale against the Eagles.

With Tony Romo likely on his way out, I would expect the Cowboys to opt for Kellen Moore as the backup over Sanchez.

Prediction: Leaves via free agency

Kellen Moore – Quarterback – 2017 season age: 28

It’s no surprise that Scott Linehan likes Kellen Moore. If Linehan remains in Dallas (which seems likely, with no reported head coaching interviews) then you have to think that Moore will have a spot on the roster.

Before breaking his leg in training camp, Kellen Moore was going to be Tony Romo’s backup with Dak Prescott serving as the regularly inactive third team quarterback.

Moore appeared in three games for the Cowboys in the dreadful 2015 season, highlighted by a solid performance against Washington (435 yards, 100.6 rating) in the season’s final game.

Prediction: Re-signs with Dallas

Darren McFadden – Running Back – 2017 season age: 30

Darren McFadden should be the spokesman for OtterBox if you believe his story about breaking his elbow. McFadden played precious little this year after one of the best years of his career in 2015, finishing fourth in the NFL in rushing despite only starting 10 games.

McFadden is going to be 30 years old in 2016, and there would appear to be little interest in having an aging speedster as your insurance against an Ezekiel Elliott injury.

Prediction: Leaves via free agency

Lance Dunbar – Running Back – 2017 season age: 27

Lance Dunbar had been a solid threat for Dallas in 2014 and the early parts of 2015. The knee injury that cost him the rest of his 2015 season also appeared to rob him of a lot of his ability in 2016.

This is nothing more than a hunch, based on nothing other than what happened on the field, but I don’t see Lance Dunbar playing for anyone next season. I think he may try and find something, but I believe the knee injury really hampered his ability and he will ultimately get out of football.

Prediction: Retirement

Terrance Williams – Wide Receiver – 2017 season age: 28

Terrance Williams is such a confounding player. He’s been a good vertical threat for Dallas over the last four years and has the ability to turn on the burners to take a slant to the house. He was also an extremely valuable blocker this season.

At the same time, Williams can infuriate fans (and coaches) with his constant body catching. He rarely uses his hands to catch the ball, and it can cost the team big time when a pass bounces off his pads.

I think Terrance Williams is a good player that some team will be willing to pay good money to have. I don’t think that team will be Dallas.

Prediction: Leaves via free agency

Brice Butler – Wide Receiver – 2017 season age: 27

Butler can be a bit of an aggravating player. He has tremendous athleticism and flashes it regularly on sideline throws. But too often he’s passive on contested grabs and has had some focus drops.

Dallas likes his potential and would like to see him realize it in a Cowboys uniform, I’m just not sure how much patience they’re willing to have with his maturation though.

I think because Williams leaves, Dallas bring Butler back on a cheaper deal, but he’ll have to fight for a spot in training camp.

Prediction: Re-signs with Dallas

Gavin Escobar – Tight End – 2017 season age: 26

Escobar is that player who fans pick each year for a breakout season that never happens. That disappointment may not entirely be Escobar’s fault.

Anthony Fasano, Scott Chandler, and Martellus Bennett have all come in with hype, wallowed in mediocrity, and ultimately moved on and performed well with other teams. I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s the case with Escobar as well.

I’m not sure why Escobar would want to stay in Dallas, especially since Cowboys brass seems to have hope that Rico Gathers can replace Jason Witten in the near future.

Prediction: Leaves via free agency

Ron Leary – Offensive Guard – 2017 season age: 28

2016 was quite a year for Ron Leary. Starting the year disgruntled and on the bench, an injury to La’el Collins opened the door for Leary to play again. Leary was fantastic, playing at a higher level than he previously had in 2014.

La’el Collins will get the job back in 2017 and Ron Leary will get his big payday somewhere else; look at Washington as a potential landing spot.

Prediction: Leaves via free agency

Jack Crawford – Defensive End – 2017 season age: 29

Crawford played the most snaps of his career in 2016 (a little over half of the defensive snaps) while the majority of them were at defensive end. Crawford had mostly been a 3-tech since arriving in Dallas in 2014, but the need for warm bodies on the edge moved him back to his original position for 11 starts this season.

Jack Crawford wants to be here. He loves Rod Marinelli, the scheme, and the city. I think Dallas’ fondness for guys who can play all over the line will see Crawford back in silver and blue.

Prediction: Re-signs with Dallas

Terrell McClain – Defensive Tackle – 2017 season age: 29

Six years into his NFL career, Terrell McClain was finally able to play regular snaps for a full season.

McClain was one of the defense’s top performers, which should earn him a nice payday on the free agent market.

I think most Dallas fans would like the Cowboys to retain him, but Dallas’ depth may be strongest at the 3-tech spot. I think the Cowboys will see the depth, the type of money other teams will likely pay for McClain, and ultimately decide that they need to prioritize their dollars in another area.

Prediction: Leaves via free agency

Rolando McClain – Linebacker – 2017 season age: 27


Prediction: Arrested at some point for something stupid and avoidable

Andrew Gachkar – Linebacker – 2017 season age: 29

Gachkar has a good relationship with Rich Bisaccia and is a key part of Dallas’ special teams; only Kyle Wilber and Jeff Heath have played more snaps on special teams than Gachkar over the last two years.

Gachkar’s effectiveness also extends to the defensive side of the ball, where he’s played well in spot work for the Cowboys.

Like Jack Crawford, I believe the “want-to” is there on both sides to make sure he’s back in Dallas next year.

Prediction: Re-signs with Dallas

Justin Durant – Linebacker – 2017 season age: 32

Durant had a good season for Dallas in 2016 and has had a solid 10-year career in the NFL that appears to be winding down.

Before Dallas called on him last year to replace Rolando McClain, Durant has said that he was leaning towards retirement. Durant deserves a lot of credit for playing as well as he did this year, through unexpected playing time and his own aches and pains.

This is likely the end for Durant.

Prediction: Retirement

Brandon Carr – Cornerback – 2017 season age: 31

Brandon Carr spoke after Sunday’s game about retirement being on the table, but I don’t think that’s very likely.

Carr hasn’t been the guy Dallas paid him to be, but he’s been a rock-steady contributor who hasn’t missed a start in his five years with the Cowboys. Since arriving in Dallas, Carr has played 98.2%, 97.9%, 97.5%, 99.7%, and 96.0% of defensive snaps; that consistency is valuable.

Carr is well liked and a leader within the locker room, but I think the price tag and Dallas’ desire to get younger in the secondary will lead to a break-up.

Prediction: Leaves via free agency

Morris Claiborne – Cornerback – 2017 season age: 27

This had to be such a devastating season, once again, for Morris Claiborne. Mo had put together a solid 2015 campaign, but injuries had limited him for a fourth consecutive season. He was given a one-year “prove it” deal and performed at a Pro Bowl level for the first 7 weeks of the season.

It all came crashing down on October 30 when he was once again bitten by the injury bug, sustaining a groin injury against the Eagles that would keep him out for the remainder of the season. He played solid against Green Bay, but was knocked out for a portion of the game with a rib injury.

Dallas simply cannot rely on Morris Claiborne to stay healthy. He’s reached a point where you can trust him to play at a high level when he’s on the field, but keeping him on the field is proving to be a difficult task.

Dallas could entertain another “prove it” deal, but I think someone out there will be willing to give him at least two years, given how he played to start the season.

Prediction: Leaves via free agency

Barry Church – Safety – 2017 season age: 29

This is a tough one. Both Church and JJ Wilcox are free agents, and I don’t believe Kavon Frazier has done enough to take the starting job. Dallas needs to keep one of them and let the other go.

Church had a really nice season while he was healthy in 2016. He’s one of the few guys on this defense who can generate turnovers, and he’s been a captain for three straight seasons.

The downside to Church is that he is going to be 29 next season in a secondary that will already feature 30-year old Orlando Scandrick and potentially (thought maybe not likely) 32-year old Brandon Carr.

I think it really could go either way on which player they pick, but as of this moment, I think Church is the one who walks.

Prediction: Leaves via free agency

JJ Wilcox – Safety – 2017 season age: 26

2016 was easily the best of JJ Wilcox’s four seasons in the NFL.

After regressing in 2015, Wilcox played this last season with much better instincts and fluidity, but still maintained his intensity and intimidating strength.

It’s important to remember that Wilcox has only played safety for five years now. Originally a wide receiver for Georgia Southern, Wilcox converted to safety for his senior season and has been learning on the job for the Cowboys. There was always going to be a learning curve for Wilcox, and it appears he’s finally started to turn the corner.

I think the improvement Wilcox showed will give the Cowboys the confidence to ride it out with him a bit longer.

Prediction: Re-signs with Dallas

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