According to my good friend, Merriam-Webster (dot-com), the term "value" can be defined as "relative worth, utility, or importance."
In other words, value cannot be conclusively defined, because hey; its all relative!
While the crazy cat lady that lives across the hall from me (there is no crazy cat lady, I made her up) might value her collection of decorative shawls as absolutely priceless, I would probably value it as about the equivalent of my discarded razor-blade after this mornings' shave.
It's the same with football. To borrow an old and tired—but true—expression, "One man's trash is another man's treasure." Likewise, one team's bench warmer is another team's All Star.
Every team has the players that make them tick, guys that are absolutely vital to their team's success. Maybe it is because they are superior athletes or have uncanny intelligence, or it could simply be that they have a leadership style that the rest of their teammates really respond to.
No matter what makes them "valuable" to their respective teams, one thing is for certain. Their teams need them.
The Dallas Cowboys are no different. There are a handful of players that they are counting on next year if they hope to have any chance of making it to the "Promised Land."
The following is a list of the five most valuable players (in my eyes) on the Dallas Cowboys' 2009 roster:
1. DeMarcus Ware—Outside Linebacker
DeMarcus is an easy pick for the most valuable Cowboy on the roster. He is arguably the best defensive player in the league, and he is unquestionably the backbone of the Dallas defense.
With questions surrounding the offensive side of the ball, it is imperative that the Cowboys take their defense to the next level next season, and they will need a healthy and productive Ware in order to do that.
The defensive secondary is the weak link in the Dallas defense, and they cannot be hung out to dry. Defensive pressure will be an absolute must, and in 2008 there was nobody better at bringing pressure than Ware, who raked in a league-best 20 quarterback sacks.
His continued dominance will also be key in the continued development of Anthony Spencer, who is filling in as the permanent starter in the wake of the Greg Ellis release.
2. Tony Romo—Quarterback
If this were last season, Romo would undoubtedly be at the top of this list. Thankfully, the Cowboys have made moves to bolster the strength of the Cowboys quarterbacking group with the trade for Jon Kitna and the drafting of Stephen McGee.
Still, the quarterback is always the most important position on the field, and Romo's value cannot be understated. While the Cowboys can afford to go with Kitna for a few weeks if Romo faces another injury, Dallas will need Romo on the field if they have any hopes of going the distance.
Although there have been questions surrounding Romo's leadership ability and his failure to deliver in "big games," he has also been one of the top statistical passers in the game since entering the league.
At best, Romo is an elite quarterback in the making, and at worst he is still a very important key to the Dallas Cowboys' future Super Bowl chances.
3. Jason Witten—Tight End
Jason Witten is Romo's most important and reliable target, and therefore one of the most valuable players on the Cowboys roster.
Last season, he finished in the top 15 in the NFL in receptions (81) and top 25 in receiving yards (952), and he did this with a broken rib and bum shoulder for the last eight games. The only tight end to finish ahead of him in both categories was Kansas City's Tony Gonzales (96 for 1,058),
But Witten is more important than numbers. His value lies in his consistency, his toughness, and his example. He's not a flashy guy, but he rarely makes a bad play, he plays through injury, and has a work ethic that would rival most any athlete.
Whenever Romo and the Cowboys need a big play in the passing game, they look to Witten, and more often than not, he delivers.
4. Roy Williams—Wide Receiver
Roy Williams is very important to the Cowboys' success next season for multiple reasons. Perhaps the biggest is the shoes he is being asked to fill.
Terrell Owens has been a dominant receiver throughout his entire career, and that was no different in Dallas. If the Cowboys hope to get their offense back on track in 2009, Williams will have to be a very big part of that.
But a productive season from Williams is not only needed to bolster the Cowboys passing attack. I have said it before and I'll say it again, the Cowboys need to run the ball next season if they hope to experience true success.
They cannot hope to run the ball effectively if they do not have a legitimate receiving threat, and as great as Witten is, he cannot be Romo's only target through the air.
If the Cowboys have a great season next year, it will largely be because Williams lived up to his hype.
5. Terence Newman—Cornerback
Perhaps one of the most under-appreciated cornerbacks in the league, Terence Newman is a very valuable weapon for the Cowboys defense.
With the departure of Anthony Henry, his value increases even more. With nothing but youth on the opposite side of the field and the safety positions still very much a question mark, Newman must stay healthy next season.
Although not a shutdown corner in the mold of Deion Sanders or Champ Bailey, Newman still has the ability to completely shut down his man when he is healthy and playing at the top of his game.
Without Newman, an already suspect defensive secondary could become a very large liability for the Cowboys.
If you enjoyed this article, then you might also enjoy my breakdown of the 10 most valuable offensive players in the NFL.
If you did not enjoy this this article, then you might enjoy Shawls Unlimited, a website for decorative shawl enthusiasts around the world!
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