The list of players who might not return next year is a lengthy one, considering the Cowboys 5-10 record.
It includes running back Marion Barber, guards Kyle Kosier and Leonard Davis, tackle Marc Colombo, defensive end Marcus Spears, safety Gerald Sensabaugh, linebacker Keith Brooking, safety Alan Ball and cornerback Terence Newman.
But it's maligned receiver Roy Williams who likely heads the list because of the bushel of draft picks the Cowboys gave up to get him from the Detroit in 2008 and the $9 million annual salary they gave him.
Williams' production has never matched the investment. Most damning is that Williams numbers in 2010 _ 36 catches for 524 yards and five touchowns _ are worse than his already acknowledged horrible season of 2009 _ 38 catches for 596 yards and seven touchdowns.
He came into this season motivated to make amends and prove his doubters wrong but he has simply become an afterthought in the passing game.
"It's disappointing," Williams said. "I can only do what I can do. I started out nice then all of sudden I fell off the face of the earth."
Williams has 21 catches for 306 yards and five touchdowns through the first five games and has 15 catches for 298 and no touchdowns over the last 10.
"I have no idea," said Williams when asked to explain the disparity. " I run what is called. I lineup. I break the huddle I go play. I only get two or three chances a game I try to make the most of them."
Considering the controversy he caused over the summer when he compared his work with quarterback Tony Romo to 49ers Hall of Famers Joe Montana and Jerry Rice, Williams probably should have stopped there.
But he couldn't help himself.
"I just try to play the game," Williams said. "I just think if Michael Jordan is hot you keep feeding him the ball."
Williams has never been Michael Jordan on the football field. But he was once a Pro Bowl receiver in Detroit.
And even more frustrating is his lack of opportunities since backup Jon Kitna replaced the injured Tony Romo at quarterback. Williams had his best season when he was with Kitna in Detroit in 2006 when he caught 82 passes for 1,310 yards.
They have simply not connected in Dallas, which Williams attributes to the interim head coach/offensive coordinator Jason Garrett choosing to feature other players.
"It's two different offenses," Williams said. "I was the go to guy in Detroit. Coordinators can make who they want to make the star."
Williams however maintains that he has had a very solid season and done what he's been asked to do. His drops are way down from last year.
Still he understands he will be judged by his numbers.
"If I was an outsider I would (feel that this guy hasn't done anything)," Williams said. "But on the inside they know. No doubt."
For that reason Williams believes he has a chance of returning next season. But he knows nothing is promised for him and it's out of his hands _ especially when it comes to his salary.
His base salary is $5.1 million next season and his salary cap hit is roughly $9.4 million. But he has three years left on his deal and if the Cowboys cut him it would cost them $12.9 million against the 2011 cap.
But of course that is the tricky part because there is currently collective bargaining agreement and no cap. A cap will certainly come back with a new deal yet the Cowboys will not make any moves until one is finalized.
"I would love to be here," Williams said. "I want to be here. If not I will play ball somewhere else."
Clarence E. Hill Jr.