Best Player Available might be overrated. The contributions of a draft pick during their 1st contract is critical. In order to make the salary cap work effectively, teams need significant contributions from players that are on their 1st contracts. On the flip-side, after a players initial contract is up (normally 4 years), good players are going to be a big hit against the salary cap regardless of whether they sign with the team that drafted them or as an unrestricted Free Agent from another team. The teams salary cap benefit from drafting that player on his 2nd contract is either zero or minimal. There are benefits for a team with regards to 2nd contract players that the team drafted in terms of having the opportunity to sign players that might never be available in Free Agency if another team had drafted them; however, the benefit specifically to the salary cap is still zero or minimal. If Mike Jenkins had been a great draft pick, he would still have cost the Cowboys as much as Brandon Carr. The fact that they drafted him would not really benefit the salary cap. If a player has zero or minimal contributions to the team in year 1, then regardless of how well that player develops in the following years, the team has lost ¼ of the value of that player (i.e. 1 year of the 4 year contract is wasted). There are exceptions if you draft injured players that would otherwise have been drafted significantly earlier. The value of the 18th pick in the 1st round is more than double the value of the 18th pick in the 2nd round. If you consider the value of each year of the #18 pick as 1 unit, then the team gets 4 units of (1-18) value on the 4-year contract. If the value of 1-18 is 2x the value of 2-18, then getting a player that would have been drafted at 1-18 at 2-18 due to injury, is like getting 8 (2-18) units of value for drafting the injured player. Since the player will be out the 1st year, the value is reduced from 8 units to 7 units. The team is still ahead of the game by 3 units compared to drafting a player that was healthy but rated at a 2-18 talent. The area where you have an issue, is drafting players that won’t have significant contributions due to the players ahead of them on the roster. If the Cowboys draft a QB that is a backup for 3 years and then starts in his 4th year, then they have lost ¾ of the unit value of that player. They get contribution from that player for 1 year before he requires a 2nd contract.