NFL Dallas Cowboys

5 Dallas Cowboys Storylines to Follow Leading Up to Free Agency

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5 Dallas Cowboys Storylines to Follow Leading Up to Free Agency

Jerry Jones, NFL Free Agency, Dallas Cowboys
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL offseason can be long and agonizing for fans. They wake up on Sunday mornings and don't know what to do with themselves. There are no fantasy lineups to check and no watching parties with their buddies. While fans are suffering from NFL withdrawal, NFL teams are busy with the business of the offseason. The next order of business for NFL teams is preparing for the free agency period which begins on Mar. 11. What will the free agency period hold for the Dallas Cowboys?

Free agency for Dallas has been quite redundant the past few seasons. It has been about Jerry Jones restructuring contracts in order to get under the cap. In doing so, Dallas does not fix their salary cap—they just delay fixing it for another year.

The problem with barely getting under the cap is that you have very little to spend on free agents. This means that Dallas normally does their free agent shopping at the NFL equivalent of the Salvation Army, which usually does not work out very well.

The 2014 free agency period will likely be more of the same for the Dallas Cowboys. They must get under the salary cap, and when they do, there will not be a lot of money left over. Dallas will have to look for bargain free agents to try to improve their roster.

With that said, there are still plenty of storylines for Cowboys’ fans to follow leading into free agency. While there are a lot to choose from, here are the top five stories that I think fans should follow closely.

Jeremy Martin is a Dallas Cowboys writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on twitter @Jmartin1982Like him on facebook or add him to your network on Google

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5. Will Miles Austin Be Cut?

Miles Austin, Dallas Cowboys, Free Agency
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

I actually do believe the multiple rumors that Miles Austin will be released. However, Dallas has yet to confirm these reports. Until it comes from Jerry Jones’ mouth, you never know for sure.

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4. How Will Contracts Be Restructured?

Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones, Free Agency
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

There is no doubt Jerry will restructure some contracts. What we do not know is how many and which players will be affected. Tony Romo, Sean Lee, Brandon Carr and Jason Witten are a few of many candidates. Every restructured contract will help this year's salary cap, but they will add to the problems down the road.

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3. Will Kyle Orton Retire?

Kyle Orton, Dallas Cowboys
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

There have been reports that Kyle Orton is considering retirement. If he chose to retire, it could save Dallas some money, but it would also leave another hole to fill on the roster. Dallas would have to find a backup QB.

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2. Will Jason Hatcher Be Re-Signed?

Jason Hatcher, Dallas Cowboys, Free Agency
Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Jason Hatcher was the Cowboys’ best defensive player last season, but he is looking to get a big payday. I believe it would be a big mistake for Dallas to give a huge contract to the 32-year-old Hatcher, but it would not be the first bad contract Jerry has handed out.

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1. Will DeMarcus Ware Get Cut?

Demarcus Ware, Dallas Cowboys
Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

The toughest decision Dallas faces is whether or not to say goodbye to DeMarcus Ware. Ware has been one of Dallas’ best players over the last decade, but he is 32 years old and has had multiple injuries the past couple of seasons. Ware has said he is willing to restructure, but he is not willing to take a pay cut.