Part 1: Cowboys who should return
IRVING, Texas -- Dallas Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones has good reason for fast-tracking his coaching search, which has apparently consisted of a walk down the hallway and a phone call to the South Beach branch of Valley Ranch.
"We've got a lot of work to do," Jones said. "We've got a lot of personnel decisions to make, and the quicker that I can get this head coaching decision resolved, the earlier that I can get on it."
Based on the results of this 6-10 season, Jerry and Co. can use all the help they can get in renovating the roster.
While Jones is busy officially crowning Jason Garrett, we'll get a head start on the roster renovation.
We divided the players who finished the season on the Cowboys' roster or injured reserve into three categories, based on whether they should be Cowboys in September.
We'll start with the players who should be brought back next season.
|WR Miles Austin
A 1,041-yard season was considered a disappointment after he signed a six-year, $54 million contract.
|NT Josh Brent
He was a find as a supplemental seventh-round pick and could play a much bigger role if Jay Ratliff moves to defensive end.
|WR Dez Bryant
If he can just stay healthy and learn the offense, he'll be a superstar.
|K David Buehler
Don't guarantee him the full-time kicking job. Just the role for which he was drafted: kickoff specialist. He'll have to earn anything more than that.
|OLB Victor Butler
He needs to improve on special teams, but he's shown flashes during limited opportunities on defense.
|RB Tashard Choice
He deserves a chance to be the No. 2 back. He'll be an upgrade over Marion Barber.
|C Phil Costa
Scouts think he has a chance to develop into a starter. He's a brawler with brains.
|LT Doug Free
Locking him up to a long-term contract needs to be the Cowboys' top post-lockout priority. Has proved he's a solid starter at either tackle spot.
|OG Montrae Holland
He's not pretty, but you can plug him in if either guard goes down and not worry.
|LB Bradie James
The defensive captain, who has led the Cowboys in tackles the last six seasons, will be especially motivated in the last season of his contract.
|CB Mike Jenkins
He had a horrible season, but you can't give up on a recent first-round pick a year after he earned a trip to the Pro Bowl.
|RB Felix Jones
Maybe he's suited to just be a change-of-pace back, but let's see what he can do with an overhauled offensive line before making that determination.
|QB Jon Kitna
He's great in the locker room, still pretty good on the field and embraces his role as Tony Romo's backup.
|LS L.P. Ladouceur
You never hear his name, a sign that the deep snapper keeps doing his job well.
|LB Sean Lee
The only question is whether he's durable enough to be a starter. But that's a big question.
|P Mat McBriar
The awesome Aussie led NFL punters in gross (47.9) and net (42.3) average.
|S Danny McCray
He has the potential to be a Bill Bates-caliber special teamer. He led the Cowboys with 28 special teams tackles as a rookie.
|QB Stephen McGee
He has a lot of developing to do, but the fact he led two late go-ahead drives in two opportunities proves he merits an investment of more time.
|DE Igor Olshansky
There is too much uncertainty at this position to part ways with Olshansky, although his most memorable moments were dancing while on the wrong end of a lopsided score.
|FS Akwasi Owusu-Ansah
The Cowboys knew the Division II prospect was a project when they drafted him in the fourth round. They can't give up on him after one injury-shortened season.
|TE John Phillips
He looked like a guy ready for an increased role before he tore his ACL during the preseason opener.
|NT Jay Ratliff
He didn't make a tackle for a loss this season and seems to be wearing down due to dealing with consistent double-teams. A move to end makes sense.
|QB Tony Romo
He gets ripped a lot, sometimes rightfully so, but do you know how many franchises would love to have a quarterback in his prime who owns a .639 career winning percentage?
|CB Orlando Scandrick
His play dramatically improved the second half of the season, when the Cowboys used zone coverage much more often. He's a reliable nickel cornerback.
|OLB Anthony Spencer
Like Jenkins, he's a recent first-round pick who has demonstrated the ability to be dominant but struggled this season. He needs to get back to late 2009 form.
|OLB DeMarcus Ware
He's well on his way to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
|TE Jason Witten
It's tough for tight ends, but he's also making a strong case for enshrinement along with Ware in Canton.
|OT Sam Young
It's a shame the Cowboys didn't give the sixth-round pick playing time as a rookie. Many in the organization think he has starter potential.
Tim MacMahon covers the Cowboys for ESPNDallas.com. You can follow him on Twitter.
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