Free agency begins on March 9.
Fans often focus on players from <a href="http://www.authenticsteelersshop.com/shop-by-players-antonio-brown-jersey-c-2_14.html">Antonio Brown Jersey</a> other teams the Cowboys should or intend to pursue. That's the wrong way to look at it.
The club's emphasis is retaining its own players before they hit free agency.
There are currently 18 free agents on <a href="http://www.authenticcowboysstore.com/shop-by-players-tony-romo-jersey-c-2_3.html">Tony Romo Youth Jersey</a> the team's roster. Here's the likely priority list.
No. 3: DT Terrell McClain
2016 impact: The Cowboys allowed an average of 83.5 yards on the ground to lead the league in run defense. McClain was the <a href="http://www.authenticcowboysstore.com/shop-by-players-lp-ladouceur-jersey-c-2_45.html">http://www.authenticcowboysstore.com/shop-by-players-lp-ladouceur-jersey-c-2_45.html primary reason. The starting defensive tackle led the team's defensive linemen with 41 tackles. He forced two fumbles, had three tackles for a loss and came up with 2.5 sacks.
Dallas picked up Cedric Thornton in free agency last season to plug into the 1-technique spot on the line because McClain had missed 14 games in 2015 with a toe injury. But McClain showed last season he is the better player and regained his starting job with no questions asked.
Why he's likely to return: He's carved out a starting role in the Cowboys' defensive front. He's physical and showed he can stay healthy for an entire season. McClain is <a href="http://www.authenticsteelersshop.com/shop-by-players-ben-roethlisberger-jersey-c-2_3.html">http://www.authenticsteelersshop.com/shop-by-players-ben-roethlisberger-jersey-c-2_3.html a very good player but not one dominant enough to command big money on the open market. He forms a solid rotation with Thornton and needs to return so the Cowboys can concentrate on upgrading the end positions.