Rebuilding plan in place, but holes remain By MAC ENGEL Star-Telegram Staff Writer One day after the Cowboys stole nearly every national sports headline, the noise from the Terrell Owens signing was still shaking the eardrums of the sports nation. A sports nation that normally focuses on the NCAA Tournament, NASCAR or the NBA was distracted by the former Eagle landing on the blue star. In Philadelphia, the sports media birds chirped that the Cowboys improved while the Eagles did not. A poll conducted by ESPN that included almost 200,000 voters was split down the middle that the Cowboys were better off with T.O. So unless you were paying extra attention and didn't get totally sucked in by the T.O. tractor beam, you might have missed that on Saturday the Cowboys nearly finished addressing their off-season to-do list. With a need here and there remaining, the Cowboys can now begin the process of sweating the draft. "You knew [Cowboys owner/general manager] Jerry Jones had something up his sleeve," Cowboys linebacker Bradie James said. "For the first little while it had been real quiet. Then, bam! It took a little while, but you knew he was going to do something." With a receiver, linebacker, right tackle and left guard all signed, there are a few remaining needs. The team needs a backup defensive tackle to replace La'Roi Glover. It needs a safety. It probably needs another linebacker. The Cowboys might elect to sign a veteran for any of the above, but will likely try the draft to address all three spots. But the biggest box un-checked on the off-season to-do list is to find a new kicker. Jones insisted they will pay a veteran this off-season rather than hope for the best with a cheap, unproven toe. The Cowboys, however, don't want to set the market for one. Ryan Longwell seemed to be the kicker they wanted, but he signed with the Vikings. Matt Bryant re-signed with the Buccaneers. That leaves Adam Vinatieri and Mike Vanderjagt, neither of whom will come cheap. The Dolphins might release Olindo Mare, whom the Cowboys might find more affordable. There is also the issue of what to do with veteran left guard Larry Allen. He is due a $2 million roster bonus on April 1, and it's highly doubtful the Cowboys will pay it. They could ask him to restructure his contract, but he will have to take a major pay cut to stay with the only NFL team he's known. "Those are things we are discussing. Larry has had a great career here and he's still on this team," Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones said. "Those are things we continue to take a look at as far as our cap situation as we move forward." As the Cowboys move forward, there are fewer issues they have to consider. They have taken care of nearly everything they wanted to and stole most of the headlines, too. ONOLINE: dallascowboys.com WRIN: Terrell Owens OUT: Keyshawn Johnson An improvement in talent, but a serious debate of character. RTIN: Jason Fabini OUT: Rob Petitti The Cowboys still like Petitti as a backup, but Fabini is a major upgrade. LGIN: Kyle Kosier OUT: Larry Allen Allen hasn't been cut yet, but no one expects the Cowboys to pay their Pro Bowler big money again. LBIN: Akin Ayodele OUT: Scott Fujita Not a sexy signing, but an upgrade. TEIN: Ryan Hannam OUT: Dan Campbell A blocking tight end for another blocking tight end. Still looking for ... Kicker: The Cowboys don't want to break the bank on a kicker, but might have to. Defensive tackle: The Cowboys need a backup after losing La'Roi Glover, and they might draft one. Free safety: The Cowboys want an upgrade over Keith Davis.