The Orlando Scandrick contract: Jerry Jones never learns

Thanks JJ!

Yesterday, the Cowboys signed Orlando Scandrick to a 5 year extension worth a very surprising $27 million, $10 million of which is guaranteed.  Wow.

Before I continue, I’d like to make it clear that I like Orlando Scandrick as a player, especially considering he’s still so young, at 24 years of age.  He reminds me a little bit of a less talented Cortland Finnegan.  Similar size – Finnegan is 5’10, 188, Scandrick is 5’10, 193.  Both aren’t afraid to stick their nose in and make a tough tackle on a big RB that has 50 lbs. on them, and they both play with sort of a chippy attitude (Finnegan to an extreme detrimental level, Scandrick more controlled).  Finnegan, however, has shown that he has excellent ball skills, something that Scandrick has not shown 3 years into his career.  There’s no doubt that Scandrick is one of the better nickle corners in the game, but there are certainly plenty that are better.

The Cowboys are coming off a free agency period in which they dumped the contracts of four players that were making far more than what they were worth – Marion Barber, Marc Colombo, Leonard Davis, and legendary mistake, Roy Williams – just to get under the cap this season.  While they were able to retain their top priority, Doug Free, they lost promising DE Stephen Bowen to the Redskins, and were unable to bring in any real impact players in an enormously deep and talented free agent pool.  Those cuts, oh by the way, will cost the Cowboys $23 million in dead money toward the 2012 salary cap.

ESPN’s Todd Archer noted that if Scandrick pans out, he’d be a bargain much like Jay Ratliff is now after the Cowboys re-upped him to a 5 year extension worth $20.5 million back in December of 2007.  Archer also noted that Ratliff “only” had 5.5 sacks in 12 starts at NT when they did that deal.  However, Ratliff’s deal was reasonable.  3-4 NTs don’t grow on trees, and if I may, can I please note that “only” 5.5 sacks in 12 games at that position is really impressive?  So that’s an example of a good extension – I’ll give Archer that one.  But what about the bad ones?  Let’s look at some other players that Jerry Jones re-upped (overpaid) early:

Year Player Contract How’d that work out?
Mar-06 Terry Glenn 5 year, $20 million extension Released July 25, 2008
Aug-06 Roy Williams (the safety) 4 year, 25.2 million extension Released March 5, 2009
Sep-06 Bradie James 5 year, $20 million extension Still with team – Avg starting ILB
Feb-08 Ken Hamlin 6 year $38 million Released April 2, 2010
May-08 Marion Barber As a RFA, signed a 7 year, $45 million deal Released July 28, 2011
Jun-08 Terrell Owens 3 year, $27 million extension Released March 4, 2009
Dec-08 Marc Colombo 4 year, $22 million extension Released July 28, 2011

Giving players contract extensions before they make it to free agency is a great strategy.  However, what Jerry Jones doesn’t seem to understand is that if you re-up a player early, you’re supposed to be able to get the player at a more reasonable deal.  The player knows that he’s “set for life financially,” which protects him against a career threatening injury (see Terrell Thomas), but the tradeoff is that you get less than what you probably would on the open market.  Instead, Jerry Jones is paying these guys as if he’s bidding against 31 other teams.  If Orlando Scandrick were a free agent a few weeks ago, would a team out there give him a 5 year, $27 million deal?  Maybe, although I have my doubts.  So why pay him that kind of money when you retain his rights for an entire season?  It makes no sense.

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  1. Matt says:

    The Eagles extended Hanson for 4/21 a couple years ago. I think that is a comparable overpay, but at the same time I don’t know how much of it is guaranteed.

    1. 5/21, 6.4 guaranteed, and yes, I agree, that was an overpay even with Hanson’s really good 2010.

  2. Creasy729 says:

    Jacques Reeves got a 5 year, $20 Million deal in 2008. And that was for a guy who looked horrible often. Never underestimate the market’s ability to overpay a player. As such, I can stomach quite easily paying Scandrick like a #2 corner since that is likely what he will be going forward once Newman gets the axe due to his contract. It’s also worth mentioning that Scandrick has looked great during training camp. I really don’t have any problem with this contract as a Cowboys fan.

  3. Immynimmy says:

    My god, I can’t believe Barber made that much.

    1. BigBad Joe says:

      Yep that one hurt alot….

  4. Tracer Bullet says:

    I am convinced now more than ever that Doug Free employs the worst agent on planet Earth.

    1. Haha, true. I’ll certainly give the Cowboys credit on that one.

    2. Imp says:

      Free’s agent is Drew Rosenhaus?

  5. DerfDiggy says:

    Scandrick been consistent since drafted……While Jenkins has regressed, Scandrick has steadily improved. That should continue, and it’s better to lock him up before he hits his peak and demands a huge contract.

    He’s been a decent slot corner…one of the hardest positions to play on the field. He should step in and replace Newman on the outside next year, and there’s a very real chance he will be starting in Newman’s place for many games this year. If he does as well as everyone thinks, he was going to get paid starter money…J.Joseph money… and this deal isn’t bad from what I can tell. He’s held his matchups to around 6 YPA last year. That’s pretty damn good. Obviously it’s a bit early…I agree with that assessment, but he’s shown improvement…steadily. 24 years young, and I think the Front Office is really worried about T.newman’s health….If Scandrick gets to week 8 and his starting because T.New is banged up per usual, and playing at a high level, he’s going to want a bigger contract.

    If it pans out like Witten and J.Rat…it’s genius, if it doesn’t….It’s another Jerry contract.

    Catch 22…really

    1. Johnathan Joseph has been a starter for 5 years… and a really good one. That’s why Johnathan Joseph got Johnathan Joseph money. Like I said… I like Orlando Scandrick, but he hasn’t proven a thing yet. Unless he goes out and has a phenomenal season (and I’m talking Pro Bowl-caliber here), there’s no way in hell he’d get Johnathan Joseph money. No way.

      1. DerfDiggy says:

        Oh no…I agree……he SHOULDN”T get J.Joseph money…but there’s no doubt in my mind that if he plays at a high level this year, a notch under Pro-bowl level, he’d be getting a HUGE contract from another team. CB’s are just making ridiculous amounts of money obviously…and with his age. I just don’t think the cash strapped Boys would be able to match, and I don’t think Scandrick would give a hometown discount. He’s been pushed behind a often injured T.New, and a non-consistent Jenkins for years.

        Again…it’s a risky move…but one I’m not upset about as a Boys fan. The difference is Scandrick’s best days are ahead of him(i hope), while Barber’s, Columbo, Glenn’s, Roy’s, etc, etc….were behind them, and everyone except Jerry knew it.

        The Doug Free contract still perplexes me actually. Well done Jerruh..or Stephen.

        1. Well, let’s compare Scandrick to someone that’s more in his league… Josh Wilson. Personally, I’ll take Josh Wilson over Scandrick, but I won’t fault anyone for liking Scandrick more. Josh Wilson, on the open market, got $13.5 over 3 years. Scandrick got a lot more, even though he basically had very little leverage.

          1. DerfDiggy says:

            Good point. How old is Josh? (not a point of argument, curious and the too lazy to look up.)

  6. BigBad Joe says:

    I think you actually gave the reason they did it now in your article. The $23M in dead money next year means that we would have a tough time in a bidding war for him. Is it a risk ? Sure it is, but i expect he will be the starter with Jenkins next year. Btw, the Witten deal is another one that worked well for Jones……he is the 16th highest pd TE in the league 🙂

    1. Agreed. Witten deal was good. Ware’s was OK, too, as was Romo’s. But come on… There’s no justification whatsoever for giving Orlando Scandrick $5 mil/year when you control his rights for another season. At the very least, this couldn’t wait until Week 8, when you’ve had a chance to see how things shake out a bit?

      1. BigBad Joe says:

        Time will tell, but at this point I trust in Garrett (and Ryan by association) to do the right thing as far as player retention. I just know that i would not want to go into next season needing 2 of my top 3 corners replaced while having anywhere from 15-19% of my cap tied up in dead money.

      2. Matt says:

        The waiting till week 8 is a great point. The deal they gave him is what I would expect to have gotten done if he started out the year playing at a very high level.

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