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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