by Dallas Cowboys Mailbag, Nick Eatman & David Helman
We have lost a few guys off the roster like Sean Lee and Tyrone Crawford, who both retired. How are the compensatory picks looking for next year? Do the draft picks play a part in this equation? - DANIEL BIPPERT / SAN ANTONIO, TX
Nick: I learned a long time ago that I'm not smart enough to figure out the exact formula for compensatory picks. Over the years here recently, it seems like we've gotten a better read on what to expect. But it's not just about the guys you lose but what they signed for, what they did on the field and who you signed in return. I would imagine the Cowboys might land a couple of picks towards the end of the draft.
David: It's not so much the draft picks, as it is the free agency acquisitions. One benefit of the Cowboys' cheap approach to free agency is that they didn't make a ton of signings that offset their losses. Right now, I'd expect that they're in line to get compensatory picks for Chidobe Awuzie, Andy Dalton, Cameron Erving and Joe Thomas. Now, I highly doubt they'll get another third-round pick, because none of those guys signed a deal as large as the one Byron Jones got. But they once again should be in line for at least a couple extra picks.
All I keep reading is that Dallas hasn't covered free safety. How far along is Damontae Kazee's injury rehab going? I'm very excited about him being a starter. - BILLY TROMPETER / OKLAHOMA CITY, OK
Nick: I think we're all very intrigued about his return. I know this, the Cowboys probably had no hesitation in signing him because of their confidence in the athletic training staff and its history in rehabbing players with tough injuries like this. Of course, Kazee's history with Dan Quinn and Joe Whitt played a big role in him coming here. So all of that is reason to be excited, but we are all like everyone else in wondering how it's going to play out on the field.
David: I'm incredibly curious about Damontae Kazee's situation. By all accounts, his recovery is going well. But he tore his Achilles in October, and that's a tricky injury to bounce back from. Players frequently talk about how long it takes to feel fully ready after that injury. Ultimately, only time is going to tell. But it is something I've spent a lot of time thinking about - especially since they didn't bolster the position in the draft.