Cowboys: Orlando Scandrick
An old adage is you cannot have enough of them, and it’s true. The Cowboys were playing with Sterling Moore, Michael Coe, Mario Butler and LeQuan Lewis at different times in 2012 as reserves because of injuries to Orlando Scandrick and Mike Jenkins.
And there are salary-cap implications, too.
Scandrick’s cap number is set to double from 2013 to 2014. He will count $2.816 million against the cap this year and is set to count $5.601 million against the cap in 2014 with a $3.5 million base salary next year.
The Cowboys will have salary-cap issues next year and could be in a trimming mode next March as well.
If Scandrick performs at a top level as a third corner, that is a palatable number. If he doesn’t, then the Cowboys have to start the ball rolling on a replacement in the nickel. That’s where Webb and his league minimum base salary could come in.
G Fiume/Getty ImagesAn old adage suggests teams can never have enough cornerbacks. B.W. Webb, out of William & Mary, proved that in the fourth round.
Cons: He is not the most physical player in run support. Is a little slight of size and press coverage is not one of his strengths. Did his interception total slip because he didn’t get much action?
Cowboy fit: You can never have enough corners and this could put Orlando Scandrick on the clock. Scandrick’s cap figures jump up in 2014 and this team will need to make some economic decisions. Webb steps in as the fourth corner with Sterling Moore.
Could have had: Earl Watford, G, James Madison; Landy Jones, QB, Oklahoma, Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson, Joseph Randle, RB, Oklahoma State
|Ed Werder joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss Tony Romo's potential contract extension, the Cowboys' plans for Anthony Spencer and how Joe Flacco's final month of the season impacted the Cowboys' offseason. |
According to a source, the Dallas Cowboys are close to $6.8 million over the cap.
Several things could happen within the next few days to get the team under the cap:
- Dan Connor will either take a pay cut or get released.
- Tony Romo could lower his $16.8 million cap number by getting a new deal.
- Mackenzy Bernadeau, Kyle Orton, Nate Livings, Orlando Scandrick and Jay Ratliff might restructure their contracts.
The Cowboys have the necessary paperwork to file with the league regarding several players' restructured contracts. The Cowboys could get under the cap without a new deal for Romo or reworking some deals such as Ratliff's or Scandrick's.
Team officials don't seem too concerned about it at this stage of the offseason because they have a plan in place to make sure they get under the salary cap.
|Todd Archer joins Fitzsimmons & Durrett to discuss the Cowboys' attempt to clear cap space, Tony Romo's value around the NFL and why the recent Alex Smith trade shows how valuable Romo truly is. |
The five announced moves Thursday cleared roughly $23 million against the cap, leaving them with about $5 million under the cap. They would have to create another $6 million to fit Spencer's $10.6 million tag under the cap.
The Cowboys have until Monday to tag Spencer.
The $5 million figure does not take into account the restricted free-agent tenders for Phil Costa, Danny McCray and possibly Brian Schaefering at $1.323 million each. It is possible the Cowboys do not tender Schaeferung, a late-season pickup in 2012.
To clarify an earlier report, the Cowboys have the OK to re-work the contract of guard Nate Livings, which would create roughly $740,000 in space, but they have yet to send in the move to the league. They could gain $1 million by re-doing Mackenzy Bernadeau's contract. Because Bernadeau hit on a play-time incentive, his base salary is set to increase to $2.25 million in 2013.
The Cowboys have also talked to the agents of Jay Ratliff and Orlando Scandrick about re-structuring their contracts, which would create another $3.8 million in room.
The moves made Thursday also allow the Cowboys to keep Tony Romo on the books for $16.8 million and Doug Free at $10.02 million in 2013. The Cowboys and Romo's agent have yet to have substantive talks about an extension, but the team is hopeful it can reach one in the near future.
Connor is scheduled to make $3 million in base salary and he counts $4.3 million against the salary cap. The Cowboys are roughly $20 million over the salary cap and are in the process of reducing cap numbers of several players.
If Connor refuses to take a pay cut, he could be released. The Cowboys value Connor's ability to play linebacker in a 4-3 scheme and would like to keep him because of his experience in that alignment.
According to ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter, the Cowboys restructured the contact of defensive end DeMarcus Ware. The Cowboys will convert $5 million of Ware's $5.5 million base salary into a signing bonus, saving $4 million against the salary cap.
The Cowboys have also approached the agents of tight end Jason Witten, nose tackle Jay Ratliff and cornerback Orlando Scandrick about restructuring their contracts. Scandrick is scheduled to make $2 million in base salary and counts $3.78 million against the salary cap. Ratliff, who will make a base salary of $5 million, has a cap number of $7 million.
The Cowboys lost Sean Lee, Bruce Carter, Kenyon Coleman, Jay Ratliff and Orlando Scandrick, as well as Josh Brent to injured reserve or the non-football injury list, forcing the team to find street free agents like Ernie Sims, Brady Poppinga, Brian Schaefering and Charlie Peprah and poach Sterling Moore off New England’s practice squad.
It was taxing and difficult, considering the supposed complexities of Ryan’s schemes.
Part of the desire to add Monte Kiffin as defensive coordinator and move to the 4-3 was the supposed simplistic nature of the scheme.
“In this day and age in the NFL, with shortened offseasons, shortened training camps, injuries, all those kinds of things, it’s important to try and put offensive and defensive systems in place that allow you to deal with the schedule and absorb the injuries that very well could happen,” head coach Jason Garrett said. “That was one of the philosophical advantages of playing this 4-3 defense. We think it can be a simpler defense for us, for guys to come in here and learn in this day and age, and also if you have the injuries to absorb it allows you to maybe do that a little bit better.”
Jeff Fishbein/Icon SMIMike Jenkins wants a starting job, but he won't get it with the Cowboys.
Summary: Jenkins' contract year could not have gone worse. He had reconstructive surgery on his right shoulder after the 2011 season, did almost all of his rehab away from the Cowboys, missed the entire offseason program, saw the Cowboys sign Brandon Carr to a $50 million free-agent deal and draft Morris Claiborne with the sixth overall pick in the draft. Jenkins was not healthy enough to play in the opener, missed three games during the year and started only two. After Orlando Scandrick was lost for the year with a broken hand, Jenkins moved into the slot for the first time in his career. He had only 14 tackles and three pass breakups and did not have an interception.
Why keep him: He has ability and can be a top-shelf cornerback when healthy, and teams can never have enough cornerbacks. After the season he had, he could be a cheap buy.
Why let him go: This isn't about the Cowboys letting him go. This is about Jenkins wanting to go, especially after the drafting of Claiborne. He wants an opportunity to start, which he won't get here.
Best guess: Jenkins will play elsewhere in 2013, but he will not land the type of deal he expects. He might have to go with a one-year deal with the chance to cash in the following season. He turns 28 in March, so he might have a difficult time ever cashing in.
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AP Photo/James D SmithCornerback Michael Coe was claimed off waivers and played in three games for the Cowboys.
Summary: Coe signed with the Cowboys on Dec. 11 and played in three games. He was used in the dime packages as an outside cornerback and also played special teams. He finished with one defensive tackle and one special teams stop. He opened the year with the New York Giants and played for Miami before the Cowboys claimed him off waivers.
Why keep him: He has experience and decent size (6-foot, 187 pounds). The Cowboys will be short on cornerbacks with Mike Jenkins set to leave via free agency.
Why let him go: He is what he is. There is no upside in keeping a 29-year-old journeyman who has limitations in the roles he can play.
Best guess: The Cowboys will let him walk and hope to get better. They will need to address the cornerback spot behind Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne and Orlando Scandrick in the offseason, either in free agency or through the draft.
AP Photo/James D SmithSean Lee's injury was one of many the Cowboys had to endure.
Throughout the season, Jason Garrett kept talking about the “next man up” philosophy used by the Cowboys and every team in the NFL in dealing with injuries.
The Cowboys took that to a ridiculous extent in 2012 with some of the “next men up” coming off the couch, or in Ernie Sims’ case, a tractor, to play important roles.
It started with safety Barry Church tearing his Achilles against Tampa Bay and then moved on to linebacker Sean Lee suffering a significant toe injury against Carolina. Center Phil Costa was lost in that game, as well, to a dislocated ankle. Punter Chris Jones suffered a partially torn anterior cruciate ligament. Defensive end Kenyon Coleman tore a triceps. Linebacker Bruce Carter broke his elbow. Cornerback Orlando Scandrick broke his wrist
Even backups like Ben Bass and Orie Lemon were lost for the season.
This doesn’t even count guys that were hurt but continued to play, such as DeMarcus Ware, Eric Frampton, Gerald Sensabaugh, Nate Livings, Felix Jones and the six games missed by DeMarco Murray. Jay Ratliff played in only six games because of ankle and groin injuries and needed sports hernia surgery in December.
Injuries are a reality in the NFL. Teams have to overcome them. The Cowboys couldn’t, and it was part of the reason – at the least – why Rob Ryan is no longer this team’s defensive coordinator.
The games lost to injury also showed how flawed the roster has been because of poor drafts in 2007-09 that robbed the team of depth.
This is not being written to defend Rob Ryan, who was released as Cowboys defensive coordinator Tuesday evening. But Ryan tried to manage a defense that was missing five starters, including nose tackle Jay Ratliff, a man expected to slow down opponents' running games.
Ryan also lost two backups, Orlando Scandrick to injury and Josh Brent because of his arrest. The players signed to replace the injured might have hurt Ryan more than anything else.
It's hard to get excited when you have Ernie Sims, Charlie Peprah, Michael Coe and Eric Frampton on the field trying to make plays for you with the season on the line.
However, the personnel department did a nice job finding players to fill the defensive side of the roster.
Peprah and Sims were the better of the signings because they were able to pick up a small portion of the defensive scheme and Ryan placed them in position to make plays.
Where Ryan failed in some ways is with what he did or didn't do with his scheme. He didn't blitz enough, and his players didn't create enough turnovers.
You can't blame the personnel department for that. You blame Ryan and the players.
When a team finishes 8-8 and misses the playoffs for the third consecutive season, change needs to happen. Jerry Jones, and maybe even Jason Garrett, wanted to give their defensive players a different voice than Ryan's. In the coming days we'll find out who that will be.
Hey, it’s true. Injuries did affect Ryan’s ability to call what he wanted. By the end of the year he was without Sean Lee, Barry Church, Bruce Carter, Kenyon Coleman, Orlando Scandrick and Jay Ratliff. He had DeMarcus Ware playing with one arm.
But if injuries could not have been used as an excuse two weeks ago, then they can’t be used as an excuse now that Ryan has been told he’s no longer the Cowboys defensive coordinator.
His two-year run was filled with more soundbites than highlights.
Even when relatively healthy, the defense did not make enough game-changing plays. The Cowboys forced 16 turnovers in 2012, a franchise low. They did not come up with enough crucial stops either, and that wasn’t just a 2012 issue.
The Cowboys lost five fourth-quarter leads in 2011 on their way to an 8-8 record.
Far too many times the Cowboys were disorganized on the sidelines. They had anywhere from nine to 13 guys on the field over Ryan’s two seasons. In Cincinnati, Ryan lost his poise and drew a penalty for yelling back at tackle Andre Smith.
How can a coach ask players to remain calm, when he can’t remain calm?
In 2011, Ryan tried to be a genius by devising all of these blitzes and the Cowboys couldn’t cover on the back end. In 2012 he largely played it safe -- even before all of the injuries -- and that did not work well enough either.
Ryan has been a coordinator for nine years for three teams and none of those teams finished with a winning record.
Is that all his fault? Of course not, but Jerry Jones promised change and so far Ryan is the biggest change.
And change can be good.
There were 2,035 plays in the Cowboys’ 2012 season, but some are considerably more memorable than others -- and it doesn’t matter whether they went for Cowboys or against them.
What if Dez Bryant's pinkie hadn’t come down out of bounds against the New York Giants in the final minute? Or what if a Washington safety hadn’t knocked the ball out of Bryant’s arms, breaking up an apparent touchdown, in the fourth quarter on Thanksgiving Day?
What if Eric Frampton had recovered New Orleans receiver Marques Colston's fumble instead of tight end Jimmy Graham?
If, if, if. That’s the story of the NFL every year.
A play here or there and the Cowboys would’ve made the playoffs. It’s the reason Garrett is forever saying every play in every game matters.
“It allows you to argue your point to your players that it’s really really close each and every week in this league,” Garrett said. "All these things that happened to us this year where plays went against us.
"If that play had been different we would’ve won that game. Or, similarly, plays that went for us that helped us win ballgames. There were a number of those too. It’s the nature of the NFL.”
No. 10: Dwayne Harris 78-yard punt return
Score: Tied, 17-17
Time: 13:52 left in fourth quarter
Taylor's Take: The Cowboys blocked this return perfectly. Orlando Scandrick, Lance Dunbar, Eric Frampton, James Hanna and Danny McCray each delivered clearing blocks as Harris sprinted untouched down the left sideline. It was Harrison’s first career punt return for a touchdown. He finished the season tied for the NFL lead with seven returns of 20 yards or more.
Season Impact:At 3-5, the Cowboys couldn’t start the second half of the season with a loss. Michael Vick left with an injury midway through the second quarter and the Cowboys still couldn’t separate. Harris’ punt return provided the impetus for the Cowboys’ biggest fourth quarter of the season.
|Ed Werder joins Ben and Skin to discuss Jason Garrett's future with the Cowboys and Jerry Jones' mindset following another 8-8 season. |
But could Jones have meant something about Rob Ryan, the defensive coordinator?
Ryan did a wonderful job in mixing and matching different players because of the numerous injuries he endured. Ryan lost starting nose tackle Jay Ratliff, and his backup, Josh Brent.
Ryan also missed his starting safety Barry Church, his two starting inside linebackers, Sean Lee and Bruce Carter and solid run stopping defensive end Kenyon Coleman.
Slot corner Orlando Scandrick was also lost.
Ryan and the rest of the coaching staff never used the injuries as an excuse. But it was clear, Ryan didn't have his best personnel for the majority of the season and with the season on the line, at Washington in the regular season finale, Ryan had his best pass rusher, DeMarcus Ware, play with one arm, which will need surgery soon to repair shoulder and elbow damage.
Jones said numerous teams have health issues and they're able to overcome them.
It seems Ryan's job status is secure, as it should be, but maybe Jones wants the defensive coordinator to make some changes to how he does things.
It seems the Cowboys were never quite happy with Jenkins the entire offseason. He didn't rehab his surgically repaired shoulder in Dallas, instead doing it in Florida. Jenkins didn't attend the voluntary workouts, although he was there for the mandatory sessions.
But as is always the case in the NFL, injuries dictate a lot of things. Jenkins saw playing time, especially when slot corner Orlando Scandrick went down with a hand injury.
Jenkins even played some at safety and on special teams.
But the sting of the offseason, when the Cowboys moved up in the draft to select Morris Claiborne and signed free agent Brandon Carr to a $50.1 million deal, bothered Jenkins. It meant he lost his starting job and was regulated to backup duties.
It appears Jenkins will not return in 2013, leaving the Cowboys looking for a fourth corner in free agency or the draft.
"Do I want to come back?" Jenkins asked. "I've grown attached, I've been here for five years, I've grown attached to everybody here. It's hard to just get up and leave and not want to come back. At the same time ,you want to go somewhere and have a fair opportunity and I guess go on from there."
These Wonders are about the future:
** I wonder how much turnover this roster will see. Of the 16 unrestricted free agents, I don’t know if there is a lock to return. Anthony Spencer is not a lock, though the team wants him back badly. Then there will be salary-cap decisions that could be made on guys like Doug Free, Jay Ratliff, Marcus Spears, Dan Connor, Lawrence Vickers and possibly even Miles Austin and/or Orlando Scandrick. That’s 23 guys right there. You figure on a lot of turnover every year, but this offseason figures to involve more regular contributors than just down-the-line guys. The Austin case could be interesting. He is scheduled to make $6.7 million in base and count $8.3 against the cap. I’m not advocating getting rid of him by any stretch, but there is frustration over at Valley Ranch. Austin finished with 66 catches for 943 yards and six touchdowns, but he was slowed again by hamstring injuries and was knocked out of both Washington games because of injuries. While it would not be cap prohibitive to cut Austin, the Cowboys do not have a receiver ready to replace him, and it would be hard to find a guy who can play outside and inside the way he does. Like everybody else on the roster, 2013 will be a key year for Austin.
** I wonder how the Cowboys can pay Spencer. As noted before the Cowboys wil,l be in a difficult salary-cap situation and will have to make a lot of decision related to money. I’m not sure they will have enough to keep Spencer before he hits the open market. And I would figure a team will be ready to give him more than what the Cowboys can afford. Spencer is coming off a career-high 11-sack season and he is one of the best run-stopping linebackers in the NFL. I do wonder if he can be a star for a defense, the way DeMarcus Ware is a star, or is more of a supporting actor. San Francisco’s Ahmad Brooks signed a six-year deal worth a max of $44.5 million last year ($37.5 million actual) with $17.5 million guaranteed. The Cowboys paid Spencer $8.8 million this season on the franchise tag. It would be $10.6 million if they tag him again and that’s a lot to budget for in a cap crunch. Signing him to deal with an average of $8 million-plus would be good, but another team flush in space in need of a strong-side outside linebacker who never comes off the field will probably pay more.
** I wonder if there is a chance Felix Jones returns in 2013. Stop laughing and hear me out. Jones is what he is: a backup. The Cowboys will need a backup running back in 2013 and one with the ability to start if needed, especially given the health issues DeMarco Murray has had his first two years. Is it worth it to keep Jones for two more years at low money? I’m not talking anything substantial at all. Jones is not going to get a chance to be a starter anywhere else on the free-agent market. He hasn’t shown he is that guy. But he’s not a bad option as a backup, and, yes, I realize health is an issue for him too. He’s proven to be tough, playing 2011 with a shoulder injury and this season with two bad knees. The Cowboys like Lance Dunbar but, to me, he’s more of a niche back. We can say the Cowboys can draft a runner late and find a guy, but there are so many needs that keeping Jones on a low-money, short-term deal might make more sense. OK, continue laughing.
** I just talked about player turnover. I wonder about coaching turnover. Jason Garrett would not get into whether the coaching staff would return in 2013, calling it premature. It makes you wonder if changes are coming. Is Rob Ryan safe? Garrett admired how Ryan worked through so many injuries in 2012 and kept things competitive, but he stopped short of a vote of confidence. Even after the loss to the Redskins, Ryan made it sound as if he might not be back when asked if he would like to coach this defense at full strength going forward. Let’s move on to special teams coach Joe DeCamillis. Last year, Oakland was denied permission to speak with him about a move to the Raiders, but that special teams’ job has opened again. DeCamillis and Oakland coach Dennis Allen are great friends. There could be a few new head coaches who would like to speak to DeCamillis. The special teams’ units had some poor moments with a blocked punt for a touchdown at Seattle and a kickoff return for a score at Baltimore. The kick return game didn’t provide much of a lift, but Dwayne Harris proved to be a tremendous punt returner and Dan Bailey was Dan Bailey. On offense, John Garrett, Skip Peete, Wade Wilson and Wes Phillips have been around since 2007. Just wonder if there has to be some moves to break up the band, so to speak.
** The last Wonder will focus on the draft. I wonder if the Cowboys will help the offensive and defensive lines come April. They need help. They also need to look at how they evaluate players in those spots, especially on the offensive line where they have missed on just about everybody not named Tyron Smith. Since Garrett has taken over they have done a better job of taking the “right kind of guys,” and have put together a growing young nucleus. They need interior line help on both sides of the ball. If Spencer leaves, then they need an outside linebacker. They will need cornerback help, too, with Mike Jenkins unlikely to return. If you want to add a safety to the list, OK, but to me, that’s not a top-end priority. They can use a tight end to pair with Jason Witten, even though they like James Hanna’s development. They can use wide receivers too. A running back, too. I haven’t mentioned a quarterback of the future yet, and I’m not sure they go that route with so many more pressing needs to fill. Because of the poor drafts in the Wade Phillips’ Era, the Cowboys do not have much depth (think the 2009 draft). Because of the upcoming cap limitations the Cowboys can’t miss on their picks.
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