Cowboys free-agent debate: Rolando McClain

With 20 players set to be restricted or unrestricted free agents, the Dallas Cowboys will have plenty of decisions to make on who to keep and who to let go.

Let's take a look at the free agents to be and how they could fit into the Cowboys' future:

Linebacker Rolando McClain

Type: Unrestricted

What he did: He came off the couch, so to speak, to be the Cowboys' best defender for most of the season. He started 12 games and was active for 13 but did not play against Jacksonville due to an injury. He finished second on the team in tackles with 108, according to the coaches, and had a sack, nine tackles for loss -- which led the team -- five quarterback pressures, two interceptions, five pass deflections and one forced fumble. He did all this after not playing since 2012 with the Oakland Raiders and retired twice. The Cowboys acquired him in a trade with the Baltimore Ravens and will have to give up their sixth-rounder this year, but will also get the Ravens' seventh-rounder in return.

What he could do: With the return of Sean Lee from a torn anterior cruciate ligament, the Cowboys would feature two playmaking linebackers. He would benefit from an offseason program as well. He was limited in training camp due to nagging injuries and missed three games with groin and knee injuries as well as an illness. He suffered concussions in the Cowboys' playoff games as well. But his presence helped the Cowboys' defense in 2014 and would help it again in 2015. The opposition feels his tackles.

What it should cost: It is difficult to come up with a comparison for McClain to figure out the right price because of his time away from the game. As good as he was in 2014, he did not play well in his time with the Raiders. Would a team be willing to pay a huge price for him based on the 12 starts in 2014 or be wary of doing it based on the full body of work? There are quirks that come with McClain that should help the Cowboys keep him because they know him best and Jason Garrett has the Nick Saban seal of approval. Committing big money is dicey. A shorter-term deal with incentives to give the club some protection might be the best way to go.

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