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Closer look at the major roster decisions

Discussion in 'Fan Zone' started by jterrell, Jan 31, 2013.

  1. jterrell

    jterrell Penguinite

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    The Norm thread frustrated me to no end. I know he is just doing his job and doing it fairly well if it has carried over to this forum but alas he is also misleading folks IMHO.

    We absolutely do have major cap issues. I trust ADAMJT13 a great deal about all matters cap. His facts are irrefutable. But the analysis of said facts is a different area. That's where the grey area lies. But the one person I trust on all things Cowboys cap-related even moreso than ADAMJT13 is Stephen Jones. And when he says we will be right up against the cap; I believe him. He isn't an alarmist. He isn't a contrarian. And he is obviously not a 'hatah' of any sort.

    But, but, but we can easily get 20 mil under the cap.

    All that is true except the "easily" part. Nothing easy about it.

    Players that need major commitments and/or consideration.

    Jay Ratliff: Everyone's new whipping boy spent 3 or 4 years as perhaps the best overall value in football. Still flashed greatness this year but if you blinked you missed it and him altogether. Didn't help that he threatened the elderly... owner. Who does that? I mean besides 80% of this forum. lol.

    Ratliff has guaranteed money coming this year. The best way to reward his bad behavior is to release him. He gets paid here and will WITHOUT a doubt get money elsewhere to. Houston couldn't sign him fast enough.

    Ratliff's deal is complicated enough that I truly have no idea how much he saves us if we release him pre/post June 2nd. But I do know he won't save us much. Leon Lett wasn't a Mensa member but good grief did we miss him.

    My Move: I'd keep him for 2013. I'd rather suspend him without pay for acting stupid than pay him to play elsewhere. I would not allow my money to get mad here. But it'd be very hard to pay him even more money to restructure. Another year of injuries and moodiness and he goes from headache to hard case.


    Miles Austin:
    Austin is almost on a scheduled re-structure. His base is ~6.75M. But he is coming off a very #2 WR year. That's a 2-4m per year salary slot. Do we guarantee him another 6m by handing him that before training camp? Is he in town working now or in Cali chasing wanna-be Kardashians?

    Miles has a top 10 WR physical make up. He is strong and explosive. He isn't naturally agile and has questionable hands/focus but his overall game is quite nice. But those nagging injuries have been more consistent than his good play. If we re-structure him we will owe him as much as 9m to cut him next year, That's crazy. So a restructure likely means he is here long term.

    OR... if we leave his contract alone we owe him 4.5M or so now in SB. We could bring him into camp and check him out. If he is full go we pay him this year and see what he does. Next year we'd pay only 3m to release him if that was required. And we'd have the same re-structure option next year.
    AND if he comes to camp and pulls a hammy TC week 1... we release him June 2nd. Saves us 4m this year and costs us only 2.25M next year.

    My Move: I'd give him a shot in camp and decide then. I trust I can find a use for 4m post June 2nd if Miles isn't ready to roll. And I like him better playing for big paydays than after cashing the big checks.


    Doug Free:
    I struggle to find much to discuss here. Doug Free was paid left tackle money as we saw our OL fall apart in short order and we desperately needed a young LT. But then we drafted an LT very high. Free became one of the highest paid right tackles in the NFL. That only works on Super Bowl teams holding on for a couple seasons or where the player is such a stud you can gameplan around his excellence. Neither is true here.

    Doug Free's best move is a new team.

    My Move: Designate him a June 2nd cut. Get Parnell ready all off-season. Look to the draft and FA for another OT. Worst of the worst case I go with Parnell backed up by Ryan Cook. Save ~4m this year but eat 3M next year in dead money.


    Tony Romo: Romo is 99.99% extended and paid a fortune. No sure ther eis any other way to go. Dallas needs to lower his cap hit and he is the team's most valuable player.

    My Move: Same as the rest of the sane universe, Give him a big check and hope for the best. I would ask him to be consider the team we can field around him if he is kind in cost.

    Dan Connor: Middling LB who could start for us but will never be a plus player. Lacks speed and explosion but can tackle and understands offenses. Costs too much right now at 3m base.

    My Move: I'd give him ~2m in cash up front and add a year to his deal. Lower his cap hit by a million or so. UNLESS someone else is obviously a better fit. If the Coaches tell me he isn't running 1st team I eat the 1.35m and release him.

    Gerald Sensabaugh: Not often discussed but Sensy is ripe for plucking if we think he has failed here. We owe him only ~2.5m in pro-rated SB which is less than his base. We could save 500k or so by releasing him today because the base is 3m. OR we could release him June 2nd and save ~1.75M.

    My Move: I'd get Kiffin's take. He has to decide if Sensy starts here for him or not. If he feels he needs a different safety I cut Sensy and move on. Church is cheaper, younger and on a long-term deal I can live with.

    Anthony Spencer: I hated franchising Spencer last year. I thought he was not worth the cash and I was clearly wrong there. BUT, where I was correct is that waiting one year to make the real decision doesn't buy you much. Minus Spencer last year we'd have had some cap cash to get better in other areas. Can we afford him?

    If we want to sign him long-term as a SDE and WDE we can make it work. It wouldn't be easy but it can work.

    Losing a guy this age who is a Pro Bowl pass rusher for nothing is almost insane. But I know we are staring that option in the face.

    My Move: I keep his rights and see what I can get in trade or sign him long-term with the kind of re-structure lay out Carr had. Get him in cheap for a year and either extend pay outs or eat cap hits after we've seen the game's revenue (and salary cap) grow again. --Trade. I'd take a 2nd and 4th. Or a 3rd and 6th in 2013 and 2nd in 2014.

    There are a glut of others whom we have to decide upon.
    Guys that are restricted free agents or make too much money for their roles.
    I won't make a long post longer by going into each, but would love to see others continue those thoughts in this thread.
  2. AMERICAS_FAN

    AMERICAS_FAN Active Member

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    I think Doug Free poses the biggest problem to the roster.

    His cap value is so high that cutting him is prohibitive. But he's as good as an average backup at best, and keeping/overpaying him for that role may be economically more feasible than taking the cap hit to cut him and then paying for 2 players on top of that - one to start and another to be a backup.

    No matter how Dallas approaches this one they're on the wrong side of the cap impact with respect to RT. to make matters worse, the OL has needs at C - perhaps G - as well, and this dilemma at RT takes resources away that could be better used for those other OL positions.
  3. pancakeman

    pancakeman Well-Known Member

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    Both good posts.
    It would be interesting to be a fly on the wall during those renegotiation talks.
  4. DBOY3141

    DBOY3141 Well-Known Member

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    We will see come march when FA starts.
  5. jterrell

    jterrell Penguinite

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    Only disagree in that cutting him is almost mandatory to me.
    7m base? No way.

    Hand him 7m in bonus to lower cap hit? Again, no way. He just isn't worth it.

    I think he is a certain June 2nd cut.
    Easiest discussion of all for me.
    At least with Romo you gotta talk actual numbers and years.
  6. perrykemp

    perrykemp Well-Known Member

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    You realize Ratliff has averaged 1.8 sacks per season over the past three seasons right?

    Since you say he has been "perhaps the best overall value in football"... you must have considered him one heck of a run defender.....

    :)
  7. Idgit

    Idgit Ice up, son. Ice up! Staff Member

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    Great thread, jterrell. I'll post more when I get a bit more time.
  8. johnnyd

    johnnyd Active Member

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    Absolutely agree with you on how to handle Anthony spencer. He is one of the top free agents available this off season even more so now with as many as 5 more teams switching to 3-4.
  9. jterrell

    jterrell Penguinite

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    Ratliff was 1st team All Pro in 2009 and was paid like an average DL. But before then is when he really provided value. He was a 7th round pick making Pro Bowls after outplaying higher draft picks. This guy got ~15k in signing bonus and made rookie minimums.

    He hasn't been a value since we gave him the 40m extension in 2010 but the fan base has a very short and selective memory.

    In 2011 he was named to PFF's 2nd all-pro team largely for his stops behind the line of scrimmage and his pressures.

    This year he played about 2 games at full health and had zero sacks. That tends to hurt averages.
  10. cowboysooner

    cowboysooner Well-Known Member

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    Perry, he was a 3-4 nose tackle. The best you are going to get out of him is disruption and push (Ratliff) or taking on blockers (big Paul in Miami).

    Vince Wilfork is/was the best in the world and gets 3-4 sacks per year.
  11. AMERICAS_FAN

    AMERICAS_FAN Active Member

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    I suppose it depends on how the numbers work out, but the way I see it, if you cut him you eat his dead money PLUS have to spend money for s RT who can backup as he can. Since you're pying him anyway, why not just keep him to be that backup?

    Now I know that cutting him after June 1 allows you to spread that dead money over 2 years, but it's not just his bsse salary that's at issue; it's also the pro-rated bonsus money that accelerates forward if you cut him.

    Like I said, it all depends how those numbers work out.
  12. cowboysooner

    cowboysooner Well-Known Member

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    Very good post, especially about Spencer. Losing Spencer means that our talent level goes way down on defense. Nobody lets a high pressure guy that plays the run go at 29 for no compensation. 29 is old for an average player, but a very good or great player at that position is playing until 34 or 35.

    The list of strongside edge guys in either front with 10+ sacks recently is Chris Long, Lammar Woodley, Mathis and Spencer.

    Move heaven and earth to at least trade the man.
  13. cowboysooner

    cowboysooner Well-Known Member

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    The $7million is essentially going on next year's cap too since you can roll over cap from year to year now. If he takes a huge pay cut, maybe. He is not likely to do it. His high base salary is what makes him very endangered.
  14. jobberone

    jobberone Right turn Clyde Staff Member

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    Free has some leverage. Maybe they can renegotiate his contract but I don't know if he would or not. A trade is unlikely because then another team would have that problem.

    My guess is they try to renegotiate his contract and if they can't, which I suspect is likely, then they'll bring him to camp and let him compete. In the meantime I see us trying to acquire a tackle in FA which would bring in competition and free up the draft as well. Sticky situation at tackle. I'm hoping they could move him inside if tackle doesn't work out.
  15. Common Sense

    Common Sense Well-Known Member

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    Why would you pay someone 7m to be a backup when the backup who he was rotating with is still on the roster? You still have to sign a starter, either way. Cut him and use the savings to finally not suck at that position.
  16. conner01

    conner01 Well-Known Member

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    we are'nt gonna be that tight against the cap. we can afford spencer, or a top tier type player along the dline. the question is really do you want to invest in him or someone else. you can't really cut rat, and let spencer go without replacing one of them in f.a. because you don't have enough quality picks to replace both of them, add another dt, add a guard, safety, rb and probably another te
    we will be tight but it is workable. june 1st cuts really don't help alot this year because all the f.a. are gone when you get the money.
  17. xwalker

    xwalker Well-Known Member

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    Keep Free: 2013 Cap Hit = 11.175M

    Cut Free: 2013 Cap Hit = 4.175M

    That is an extremely easy choice for me. I'll drive him to the airport if that help get him out of town.
  18. Erik_H

    Erik_H Good, bad, I'm the guy with the gun. Zone Supporter

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    Excellent post. Even though I don't always agree with you, I think you are pretty spot on with all of this.

    I disagree only in the past about Spencer as I wanted him to be signed long term rather than franchised, while I think you'd have rather seen him go last year. Of course, with hindsight we are in a bigger bind with Spencer having the year he had. In order to trade him we'd first have to put the franchise tag on him. That will be tough to do if that mean the 10.7MM ends up on the books even temporarily. I'd like to see him back again, but the only real chance of that is if he gives the Cowboys some sort of hometown discount. It may happen, but we can only guess with that.
  19. burmafrd

    burmafrd Well-Known Member

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    agree with most of what you said. disagree about Stephen. What anyone says in public should be taken with a grain of salt. A very large grain.
    Just becasue Stephen said it does not mean he meant it or that it is true.
  20. xwalker

    xwalker Well-Known Member

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    Jay Ratliff: Remaining guaranteed money makes it almost impossible to cut him. The only option might be a trade where the other team can take his guaranteed base salary. I wouldn't expect anything in return from the trade.

    Miles Austin: He stays until they find his replacement. As you indicated, they could always cut him during Training Camp.

    Doug Free:
    Must go! Parnell is at least as good.It saves 7M against the cap.

    Tony Romo:
    New contract. The structuring of this contract will have a huge affect on the salary cap. If they only stretch his signing bonus over 5 years then the cap hit is big. If they stretch the signing bonus over 10 years, then the cap hit is reasonable.

    Dan Connor:
    Must go! Too slow and 3M base salary is too much.Just give Ernie Sims a 1-year 2M contract.

    Gerald Sensabaugh:
    2013 base salary is guaranteed.

    Anthony Spencer:
    Let him leave or Franchise him again. No big long-term contracts for a player that will turn 30 during the 1st year of the contract.They should be able to find a Nickel Pass-rusher for a reasonable price. Crawford can be the 1st/2nd down SDE and Ernie Sims can be the SLB.

    Another option would be the Bear's starting SLB Nick Roach. I doubt that he will get a big contract from anybody.

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