Cowboys free agents: Ryan Cook

Ryan Cook

Position: Center/guard

Free-agent type: Unrestricted

2013 salary: $1.1 million

Summary: Cook spent the season on injured reserve with a back injury after practicing just a handful of times in training camp. In 2012, he started 11 games at center after he was acquired in a trade from Miami the week before the season opener.

Why keep him: He has position flexibility, which is always a good thing for backup offensive lineman. He has experience, which is another benefit. With Phil Costa set to count $1.75 million against the cap in 2014, Cook would be a cheaper option.

Why let him go: Preferably teams would rather go younger and cheaper on a backup offensive lineman. Costa is younger, if not cheaper. He is also coming off a back surgery. Cook is something of a progress stopper. He might be solid for a handful of games, but he will not be a long-term answer on the offensive line.

Best guess: Cook will have a chance to see what the market will bear for him. The Cowboys could bring him back at a one-year deal worth the veteran minimum salary benefit. Costa might not have the same position flexibility but he is a better fit in this zone blocking scheme than Cook if something were to happen to Travis Frederick.