The Cowboys saw a promising start to the 2015 season, only to go on a losing streak after losing quarterback Tony Romo. In order for Dallas to rebound in 2016, keeping core players will be key. Free agency looms, and so does the prospect of players testing the market.
Here's who could walk.
1. Greg Hardy (Defensive end, 27 years old)
The writing has been on the wall for quite some time with Hardy, according to CBS Sports. Frequently late to team meetings, complete lack of public awareness, somewhat diminished production on the field. Hardy also was a distraction from football, so it is likely head coach Jason Garrett and his staff have had enough of the Greg Hardy experience. Owner Jerry Jones may want to sign him to a team- friendly deal, but there is a good possibility another team scoops him up.
2. Jeremy Mincey (Defensive end, 32 years old)
Mincey saw this coming. Earlier in the 2015 season Mincey was trying to push for contract negotiations. This never came to fruition as the Cowboys stiff armed him (no pun intended) and got him onto the field with a couple of extra dollars in his pocket. The Cowboys are aware that Mincey, 32, will likely begin to decline, and they are most likely not going to pay for that. The Randy Gregory suspension may influence them to be more open to Mincey returning, but we don't see anything bigger than a 1-2 year deal happening, if that, according to ESPN.
3. Rolando McClain (Inside linebacker, 26 years old)
Ah McClain, the former first round bust looking to redeem himself in the NFL. McClain is an odd figure on this defense, as he is not quite as consistent as the Cowboys would like him to be. In his two years with the club he has only played in 24 games, recorded 80 tackles a season, six pass defenses and three sacks. Linebacker blitzing should be effective, and McClain very rarely can be an effective blitzer. The most likely course of action is that a team offers McClain more money than the Cowboys are willing to spend on him, although a team-friendly deal could be possible if his market is dry, according to ESPN.
4. Kyle Wilber (Outside linebacker, 26 years old)
In Wilber's four years with the Cowboys he has only recorded 3.5 sacks and two pass defenses. Wilber is a depth player who has had his flashes of greatness, but much like Justin Durant, a team with a ton of cap space will lure him away.
5. Mackenzy Bernadeau (Offensive lineman, 30 years old)
The starters aren't going anywhere, and Bernadeau will be past 30 this season. For an offensive lineman he may not be too old, but for the Cowboys, after picking up Chaz Green and La'el Collins there is the thought the Bernadeau will become an afterthought. He will likely request more money than the Cowboys are willing to pay.