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Thursday, February 25, 2010
Jay Ratliff looking at Vince Wilfork

By Calvin Watkins

Jay Ratliff has been to two Pro Bowls and earned his first All-Pro nod in 2009.

The Cowboys nose tackle is a force. He had seven sacks, second on the team, 33 quarterback pressures, fourth on the team and eight tackles for loss, second on the team.

Ratliff is considered one of the best at his position. But he's not paid like it.

In 2007, Ratliff signed a five-year contract extension worth $20.5 million with $8 million in bonuses.

It's really nobody's fault, but at somepoint the Cowboys will have to rip up this contract.

The reason? Nose tackle Vince Wilfork of the Patriots.

New England franchised Wilfork, who will get paid $7 million for the 2010 season, unless a long-term deal is worked out. And Wilfork will expect a big money contract from the Patriots that will be worth more than Ratliff's.

Check out Wilfork's numbers from 2009. While participating in 565 snaps, he had zero sacks, zero quarterback hits, one forced fumble and two passes defended.

Ratliff played in 851 plays in 2009 and put up better numbers.

Ratliff's Dallas-based agent, Mark Slough, said he's not worried about the contract right now.

Here's a reason: The current state of the collective bargaining agreement. If the owners and players union can't come to terms by March 5, the 2010 season is uncapped and the 2011 season might not happen, unless a new deal is reached.

Slough's plan, and probably the Cowboys', is to wait until a new deal is reached between the league and union before redoing Ratliff's contract.

He has three years remaining on his deal as follows:

2010 base salary: $2.1 million
2011 base salary: $3.75 million
2012 base salary: $4.87 million

Ratliff also has no roster bonus money due, he got it all when he signed, at $8 million.

So whatever Wilfork gets, Ratliff will ask for something more, at the time.