Alright, after talking with some folks I respect around here, including SDogo, and doing a little research (and homering out in Round 2), I present to you, my offseason plan and mock draft!
We will begin with...free agency. Players in blue are re-signed.
Unrestricted free agents
Keith Brooking - retirement
Derrick Dockery - possible retirement, possible re-signing for veteran depth
Jon Kitna - retirement
- this one is interesting...Chris Jones might be given a legitimate opportunity in camp next summer.
- I would move him to DE
- 1 year deal, veteran depth
Restricted free agents
- practice squad
Exclusive rights free agents
- depth, project
- he just keeps sticking around, and is a pretty good special teams player
I'm also going out on a limb and saying that Kyle Kosier will retire in light of his injury, and Newman will either be waived or will retire.
Free Agents From Other Teams
Cortland Finnegan, CB, Tennessee Titans -- Finnegan comes in and provides an immediate toughness to the CB position. He is able to jam virtually anyone at the line and is not afraid to hit you in the mouth. As long as we aren't playing the Houston Texans, we shouldn't have to worry about any 15-yard unsportsmanlike conduct penalties. It is also said that Finnegan is a great community guy and an all around nice guy off the field.
Calais Campbell, DE, Arizona Cardinals -- Arizona likely won't be able to re-sign him, and we are hurting big time for a defensive end that can actually get to the Quarterback. Coupled with trying out Spencer on a 1-year deal as a DE re-conversion project, Campbell can come in and immediately give opposing quarterbacks and offensive coordinators fits as they figure out how to attempt to block/hold DeMarcus Ware and Campbell.
Carl Nicks, OG, New Orleans Saints -- here's another guy that his team would like to keep him, but might not be able to afford him. At a worst case scenario, bringing in Carl Nicks helps to sure up at least one guard spot left vacant by Kosier, and leaves us to only worry about one other spot between Guard and Center...I think we should be prepared to go into the next season with either Kowalski/Costa at Center again, and Holland at Guard.
- note, the draft picks are listed with thoughts of the free agency signings in mind, but are not hand-in-hand.
David DeCastro, OG, Stanford - probably the most NFL ready lineman in the draft, though similar things were stated about Gabe Carimi. DeCastro helps to round out an offensive line in transition and provides another beast along the offensive line in the vein of Tyron Smith (though I am salivating to see Smith next year with more time under his belt).
Jayron Hosley, CB, Virginia Tech - likely a 2nd round prospect, Jayron Hosley won't knock your teeth out hitting due to his size, but he's fearless in flinging his body around and is the definition of a "ball hawk" that the fans are clamoring for even if I hate buzzwords. Hosley can come in and immediately start opposite of Jenkins, or can play the slot while Finnegan mans the starting spot (if Finnegan were not signed). Hosley is the kind of CB that plays the ball, not the man, and is very good in zone coverage. Lets just hope Dave Campo isn't around to turn him into a pedestrian. This is the "casmith07's Bona Fide Homer Pick Of The Year!"
pick of the draft.
Brandon Boykin, CB, Georgia - projecting as a 3rd rounder, but in the bowl game today playing like a Top 10 talent, Brandon Boykin can provie immediate depth vacated by Alan Ball and possibly Orlando Scandrick on the roster (Scandrick can be cut this year despite his new contract, saving us $5.3M against the cap). Not only does he cover well, and play the ball, but he tackles very well and also returns kicks and punts with gamebreaking ability, something that we desperately need. With this pick, we've found three starting-quality players at CB in free agency and the first three rounds of the draft, and have given ourselves insurance against Mike Jenkins possibly testing free agency.
Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame - the class of tight ends this year is weak, but we need one with Martellus Bennett almost assuredly signing somewhere else this off-season. Eifert has done well for Notre Dame and is tall and athletic. He'll need some work as a blocker, but he has a little Gronk in him as far as his athleticism and route running. A big tall target that could turn into a nice replacement for Witten as a pass catcher down the line. He also won't be concerned with making rap videos and twitter wars.
Brandon Lindsay, DE/OLB, Pittsburgh - with the possibility of moving Spencer to DE, or even re-signing him to maintain as an OLB, we still need to look to add someone to play whichever position is still a gap. Hoping for a player like Lindsay to slide to the 5th round is wishful thinking, but ends tend to go undervalued in the draft by teams.
Chandler Harnish, QB, Northern Illinois - we need to start looking for a replacement for Romo. Bigger needs in the upper rounds have us drafting other positions, but from this year forward I believe we should draft at least 1 Quarterback every year. Harnish churn's Kitna's spot and starts as the #3, but could easily be elevated to #2 next year if we find someone we like better than McGee.
Jonathan Bostic, ILB, Florida - we'll need some depth, bringing back Bradie James as a kind of player-coach for veteran depth. Florida is known for great team speed on defense, and Bostic is no different, projecting to run the 40-yard dash in the 4.60-4.63 range.
Have at it, tear it up, I don't care!