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Sifting through meaning of Orlando Scandrick deal

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IRVING, Texas – Teams in the NFL like to have it both ways when it comes to their world of non-guaranteed contracts.

If a player is underperforming, then they will ask that player to take a cut in pay. If a player is outperforming his contract, they like to say a player is under contract.

In agreeing to a new deal with cornerback Orlando Scandrick on Friday, the Dallas Cowboys showed they are willing to work with one of their core players who is expected to be around for the long term.

The Cowboys didn’t have to do anything with Scandrick’s contract. They could have enforced the $500,000 de-escalator in his deal for not taking part in 90 percent of the offseason program. They could have said he’s under contract.

But they were willing to add a year to his deal with some more money up front to make sure one of their defensive leaders is happy.

Does this mean every player unhappy with his deal will get the same treatment? Absolutely not.

Does it have anything to do with Dez Bryant’s contract? No.

The Scandrick and Bryant deals are vastly different. Bryant’s deal is more complex in terms of the amount of money he will receive and where he will rank among the highest-paid wide receivers. With Demaryius Thomas (franchise tag), Julio Jones and A.J. Green in roughly the same boat as Bryant, the Cowboys aren’t sure where the wide receiver market will take them in the future.

In order to buy themselves some time, they put the $12.823-million franchise tag on Bryant. If need be, they can put the tag on him again in 2016 and Bryant will pull down roughly $28 million over the next two years. There is no doubt the Cowboys want Bryant for the long term, but finding the way to get there is more difficult.

Does this have anything to do with the team not paying DeMarco Murray? No.

The Cowboys drew a line in the sand on Murray – four years, $24 million, $12 million guaranteed. The Philadelphia Eagles’ offer buried their offer and Murray had to take it. I believe the Cowboys might have been penny-wise and pound-foolish in their thinking in allowing the NFL’s leading rusher to walk, but the complexities of a deal for a running back are different than a cornerback.

And with a quick look at the value of the deal, the Cowboys still appear OK financially.

Scandrick’s new deal averages $4 million a year through 2019. There were deals in free agency this year for cornerbacks not as good as Scandrick that averaged $6 million a year.

By re-doing Scandrick’s contract, the Cowboys kept the player happy and showed his teammates that they are willing to work through tricky situations.