Is Phil Costa a Cowboys keeper?

Yes, yes, I am aware and profoundly sorry that I have not updated the blog in more than seven hours. My excuse is that I was working Media Day as part of ESPN.com's Super Bowl coverage team. I hope you got to enjoy some of that coverage. But I owe you NFC East posts, so here we go. ESPNDallas.com is running a series on Dallas Cowboys free agents, and one of their recent entries addressed the case of restricted free agent Phil Costa, who has shown flashes but not consistent strength or health:

Why keep him: The coaches like his smarts and his ability to fight and the offense went pretty well in his limited action. He can also play guard, and you can't overlook that versatility with gameday roster spots so precious.

Why let him go: In order to keep him, the Cowboys would have to tender him a deal worth $1.323 million or agree to a lower deal. He will never be a dominating player and will get pushed back more than you would like.

The Cowboys need to improve on the line, but their issues at tackle and guard are likely to play out as more important than center, where they have options. Costa is one of those options, and while I haven't liked much of what I've seen from him in his limited action, I also don't think he's delivered enough of a sample size on which to base an opinion that he can't be the answer for them at center. Todd Archer's conclusion that Costa will get a chance to fight off Ryan Cook and Mackenzy Bernadeau for the starter's job is probably correct and, I think, fair. Costa's ability to also play guard should keep him on the Dallas roster in 2013.