Reviewing the Livings, Bernadeau signings

September, 4, 2013
9/04/13
12:23
PM ET
IRVING, Texas -- In the spring of 2012 the Dallas Cowboys signed two offensive linemen, Nate Livings and Mackenzy Bernadeau for a total of nearly $30 million. Livings was slated to start at left guard, which he did for 16 games, Bernadeau, the right guard, started 16 games himself. The signings were deemed a success because the Cowboys were trying to upgrade the interior offensive line because of age and declining play.

Today both players could be out of starting jobs.

Livings is out for the season, placed on injured reserve because of knee surgery, Bernadeau is fighting for a starting gig after the team signed Brian Waters Wednesday morning.

What happened?

"We were pleased with those guys coming in and competing for spots and really playing a lot of snaps last year," coach Jason Garrett said. "Salary cap has a lot to do with all the decisions you make and where you want to allocate your resources. We spent a lot of time on defense last year to make sure we [strengthened] the secondary and we made some other moves that we felt could help our offense. Every year, you're going to try and bring people in to create competition to make your team better and we're excited about the guys we have and a lot of competition will be out there."

Livings had a strong start to the 2012 season, but his health slowed his progress. Bernadeau started off slow and his starting job was in doubt during the middle of the season because Derrick Dockery shared first-team snaps with him in practice. But Bernadeau performed better and started two games at center, showing the Cowboys he has position flexibility.

Yet, in the last two seasons, Bernadeau hasn't been around in the offseason programs for a variety of health issues and that's concerning long-term. The same could be said of Livings.

It's the reason why the Cowboys tried to move Ronald Leary into the starting left guard spot and move Doug Free from tackle to right guard.

When the Cowboys face the New York Giants in Week 1 of the regular season, Bernadeau is the projected starter but when it comes to the Week 2 contest at Kansas City, there's some doubt about his role.

Garrett wasn't ready to commit to Waters or Leary as the starting guards in Week 1. It's easy to assume Waters won't be since he just arrived on the scene, Leary (knee surgery) did practice some Monday morning and felt good the day after so his availability for the Giants game seems strong.

When you look back at the signings of Livings and Bernadeau you have to view them as a disappointment given the pair lasted only one year together. The future of each appears remote with the Cowboys going with Leary, a younger player, and the strong possibility the team will draft a guard in the early rounds of the 2014 draft.
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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