Jerry Jones has acknowledged on more than one occasion that the Cowboys will have new faces in secondary after finishing up near the bottom of the league in pass defense for the second straight year.
Cornerback Terence Newman is an obvious target for deletion because of age, salary and declining play.
Jones acknowledges that Newman could be a salary cap casualty, as the Cowboys could as much as $6 million by releasing him.
But the final decision has not been made and Jones said he could see a scenario in which Newman could return.
"There has been a difference in his play," Jones said. "How much of that was because of a new scheme, you can make a question. But I'm just not ready to get into where we're going to go with that. It obviously has financial implications relative to the roster. On the other hand, under one scenario, he could be good value."
Jones has yet to talk to Newman or his agent Ben Dogra about the team’s plans. But he said the Cowboys aren’t going away from the 2002 first-round pick until they have a viable replacement.
"Again, we haven't visited," Jones said. "I haven't discussed that with him and his representative. But he still has his speed. And what you have to do to complete this whole comment is tell me what you're going to do to replace him, and I'm not there yet."
With backup cornerbacks Alan Ball and Frank Walker set become free agents, the Cowboys will almost certainly target the position in the draft and/or free agency. Only starter Mike Jenkins and slot cornerback Orlando Scandrick are guaranteed to return.
But while it would seem that Scandrick would be logical option to replace Newman in the starting lineup, considering he was given a five-year, $27 million contract extension last August, that’s not the direction the Cowboys want to go.
Jones said Scandrick was solid last season but didn’t play as well as the Cowboys would hoped when he had to flop back and forth between inside and outside in place of the injured Newman and Jenkins at times.
Jones said he has no regrets about the contract they gave to Scandrick and what the Cowboys learned is that they have to let him do what he does best.
"He's a real value to us in star (slot cornerback)," Jones said. "Was he challenged doing both last year? Probably moreso in hindsight than we thought he would. We thought he could do both. Was it a challenge to him to do both? Probably. It's hard to do both."
"I'm glad to have him and glad to have that contract," Jones said continued. "Wouldn't dare go back there again and try to do better with a different player or different money. We think that much of him. He's that important to us for our future. He's a good player, a smart player. We've just got to play him right."