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Thursday, May 27, 2010
Best bargain contracts: Witten, Ratliff

By Calvin Watkins

On Wednesday, we told you about the two worst contracts on the Cowboys' roster, based on the amount of money paid and lack production produced: WR Roy Williams and RB Marion Barber.

There is a hope, at least from the organization, each player will perform better in 2010.

Today, we look at the two bargain contracts on the Cowboys' payroll.

Tight end Jason Witten and nose tackle Jay Ratliff are outperforming their contracts.

Witten signed a six-year, $29 million deal in 2006. He’s signed though 2012. His base salary for this season is $2.641 million.

So what has Witten done since signing that contract?

He was named to four consecutive Pro Bowls and six overall. In 100 career games, Witten has 457 catches. Only Kellen Winslow Sr. has more catches over 100 games with 497. And Winslow's son, Kellen Winslow Jr. has the biggest contract for an NFL tight end -- a six-year, $36.1 million deal signed after his trade from Cleveland to Tampa was completed last season. In 2007, Witten's 96 catches were the third-best single-season total for a tight end in NFL history. Tony Gonzalez, a sure Hall of Famer, has the top two marks with 102 and 99 catches. At some point, you would think the man could get his contract redone again.

Ratliff signed a five-year deal worth $20.5 million, which includes $8 million in bonuses.

After signing that deal in December 2007, Ratliff has become just as valuable as outside linebacker DeMarcus Ware. Ratliff is a two-time Pro Bowl selection and was named to the All Pro team for the first time in his career in 2009. In 2008, he led the team with 31 quarterback pressures from the nose tackle position. Last year, he forced two fumbles and had 40 tackles.

There is a thought, the Cowboys might rip up Ratliff's deal. He's signed through 2012 and will get a base salary of $2.105 million this year.

If you don't believe in Ratliff, these are his numbers from the two postseason games: five tackles, four QB pressures, one sack.