Only Jason Witten remains from '03 draft class

In the last 48 hours the Cowboys saw cornerback Terence Newman and linebacker Bradie James sign contracts with new teams. Newman went to Cincinnati and James went to Houston.

It's not a surprise each player will no longer play in Dallas.

Newman was released because the Cowboys wanted a younger cornerback who made plays on the ball, which they found in free agency in cornerback Brandon Carr.

James' playing time was reduced last season because, yes, the Cowboys needed to have younger players at inside linebacker. Enter Sean Lee.

With James and Newman gone, it brings into focus the 2003 draft class.

Tight end Jason Witten is the only Cowboys player left on the roster from the first Bill Parcells draft class. Witten was a third-round pick, 69th overall, and he continues to play at a Pro Bowl level.

The Cowboys drafted seven players from that draft and five made the team -- four turning into starters -- but only Witten remains.

In 2011, he led the Cowboys for the fifth consecutive season in catches and has surpassed at least 60 catches for eight straight seasons.

It tells you a little bit about his durability -- he hasn't missed a game since 2004 -- and the type of player he is. Witten is an elite player, and when you have something like that on your roster you keep him around for a long time.