It's officially the offseason and that means it is time to start figuring out which current Cowboys should be looking for new employment in 2011. In the spirit of the Clash, we're asking "Should He Stay or Should He Go." Next up is Keith Brooking.
Name: Keith Brooking
If He Goes, Will There Be Trouble?: We'll repeat something that we said in our look at Terence Newman's future as a Cowboy. Outside of DeMarcus Ware, there isn't a single member of the Cowboys defense that should feel secure about his role on the team's defense next season. That's how disappointing the unit was in 2010 and how much they underachieved.
That alone doesn't make Brooking totally expendable, but it doesn't make much of a case for keeping him around either. The player who helped solidify the defense en route to a division title in his first Dallas season was nowhere to be found, either as a result of age or injury robbing him of some athletic ability.
Neither of those things are likely to improve come 2011. Brooking is turning 36 which means his best days are behind him. Sean Lee, while not perfect, did just as good a job when given a chance. Using the draft and free agency to find some other depth options behind Lee and Bradie James should mean that there would be no wet eyes missing Brooking when next season gets underway.
If He Stays, Will There Be Double?: You could probably work through another year with Brooking and Lee splitting time at inside linebacker, but why would you choose that route? Lee would benefit from as much playing time as possible, especially during training camp and preseason when there's actually time to instruct and improve.
What's more, Brooking isn't going to be a guy who is going to go out and make a killing on special teams. If Tashard Choice couldn't get on the field because of that, Brooking can't get a pass. Keeping Brooking would rob the team of the chance to add a more athletic, more versatile player.
So, Should He Stay or Should He Go?: It's time to move on from Brooking.
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