The Dallas Cowboys finished 2016 with the best record in the NFC but still fell in the playoffs to the Green Bay Packers in the divisional round. While they have most of their key weapons on offense locked up, there are a number of contributors that they might lose in the 2017 NFL Free Agency period, including some important starters. Here is a look at where the Cowboys stand as free agency prepares to kick off.

Dallas Cowboys restructure contracts

One thing that the Dallas Cowboys have always done is restructure their highest paid players contracts to play around with their salary cap money. This allows them to put off paying some money until later in contracts and allows them to play in the NFL free agency sweepstakes, although they have pulled back a lot in recent years.

This offseason, the Cowboys restructured the contracts of offensive linemen Tyron Smith and Travis Frederick. They also will save millions when they let Tony Romo leave the Cowboys this offseason.

Dallas Cowboys in-house NFL free agents

The biggest decision the Dallas Cowboys have made in recent years is to keep their better players locked up while not overspending on free agents from outside the team. However, this offseason there are a lot of players that are free agents and contracts around the NFL have caused headaches for the Cowboys front office. Offensive lineman Ronald Leary watched the Kansas City Chiefs pay one of their offensive linemen $41 million. The Cowboys won't touch that for Leary, so he is probably leaving.

Antonio Brown was paid $17 million a year and there are thoughts that Terrance Williams will want a big money payday the Cowboys won't give him. Both of those players are offensive starters that the Cowboys will have to replace.

The Dallas Cowboys defense

There is no doubt that the Dallas Cowboys defensive unit overperformed in 2016 and they need to improve even more in 2017 if Dallas wants to look at a Super Bowl appearance.

However, safeties Barry Church and J.J. Wilcox, and cornerbacks Brandon Carr and Morris Claiborne are all free agents and the Cowboys can't sign them all, which leaves giant holes in their defensive secondary. There are improvements that need to be made but this year's free agent signings will make it hard.

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