by Todd Archer OXNARD, Calif. – The Cowboys had to waive Quincy Carter. With news about him facing a fine for failing a drug test, the Cowboys had to know if Carter would make it through a season without facing NFL sanctions. It was impossible for them to be 100 percent sure. It’s different for a quarterback. A team can lose a lineman or wide receiver and survive. A team can’t unexpectedly lose a quarterback and expect a smooth road. The move was simply a fast-forward of what was likely to happen in the future. Carter had one year left on his contract after this season. Knowing he was one strike from a four-game suspension and two away from suspension for a season, the Cowboys could not give him a contract with a huge signing bonus even if he developed into a Pro Bowl quarterback. It would have been too much of a financial risk for the team to take. They do not want to be put in a position of negativity when it comes to the salary cap. Let’s say Carter had a monster season and was looking for a new contract with a $10 million signing bonus. The Cowboys could put all sorts of protection in the language of the deal to get the money back in case something happened to Carter, but the effects on the salary cap would leave them in a predicament. It’s one of the reasons why Jerry Jones drafted Carter in the second round. He did not want to trade up for a top-five pick not absolutely knowing the player was worth it. The deals for Carter and Chad Hutchinson, who was released before training camp, were structured to keep the team out of salary-cap harm. Now, that’s not to say Jones won’t pay anybody. He paid Troy Aikman quite handsomely. He will make the financial commitment necessary to keep a player. If Drew Henson becomes the player the Cowboys hope he can become, he will get paid. It’s that simple. The best part of a bad situation is that it happened so early in training camp. The Cowboys now have the time to adjust their offense to Vinny Testaverde’s skills. He is not as mobile as Carter, but he is difficult to sack. He can get the ball down the field better. He is more accurate. He knows the system. He knows what Bill Parcells wants. More importantly, he knows what the coach does not want. Are the Cowboys a better team without Carter? No. The backup situation is precarious because Tony Romo and Drew Henson are untested. Can the Cowboys still be a playoff team? Absolutely. They just better protect Testaverde.