Dec 23, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) puts his hand on the back of tackle Doug Free (68) during the game against the New Orleans Saints at Cowboys Stadium. The Saints beat the Cowboys 34-31 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Cowboys Clear Cap and Combine Contemplations

Great news!  The Cowboys got under the cap after being a projected $20m over just a few days ago.  The Cowboys restructured the deals of Brandon Carr, DeMarcus Ware, Miles Austin, Ryan Cook, and Jason Witten to move an unspecified amount of money ahead of the cap deadline of March 12.  While many of these moves were expected, I guess I didn’t realize how quickly and dramatically it would all take place – particularly with no designated June 1st cuts.

The contract restructuring of these five players had to be done to a certain degree to get under the cap by March 12, but I have to wonder what these moves did to the Cowboys financial situation of the future.  Jerry and son have always been creative with their financial flexibility, but are they delaying and worsening a future cap doomsday?

Doug Free

Am I losing my mind or did I hear something about the Cowboys potentially moving Doug Free to guard?  The guy’s biggest weakness has been his ability to play with power and anchor down on his man, and they’re talking about moving him inside to guard?  I sure hope that this is speculation run rampant, because this would seem to indicate a completely wrong-headed concept and signal some troubling deficiencies in talent evaluation in Valley Ranch.  Now that the Cowboys under the cap, I think what they do with Free is going to be very interesting.

 Gerald Sensabaugh

So on one hand I’m hearing Free might be kept, and on the other I’ve been hearing rumors about Gerald Sensabaugh getting cut.  I really don’t understand the logic behind this move.  Cutting him would save about $1.3M against the cap, but then you have to replace him.  Are they that confident that Matt Johnson is going to be healthy and ready to go – much less that he is going to be a productive NFL player, sight unseen?  It’s a positive sign that Barry Church is recovering faster than expected from his injury, but this just doesn’t seem like a gamble worth taking.  What I hope this doesn’t mean, is that they’re looking at drafting Vaccaro in the first round.  While I think he is probably going to be a pretty good NFL player, the Cowboys MUST make a commitment to the trenches in this draft, and taking a safety in the first round is counterproductive to this goal.

I think the safety class is deep enough where you can get a guy in the subsequent rounds that can contribute for you.  I think Cyprien is one of those guys, though I was disappointed to hear he had tweaked his hamstring, and was unable to run at the combine.

 

Luke Joeckel vs. Eric Fisher

I’ve been preaching that Eric Fisher is narrowing the gap between himself and Joeckel for the top overall offensive tackle, and I think the combine helped with that process.  They had very similar numbers at the combine, but to me Fisher was the more fluid of the two in the skill drills.  With the Chiefs trading for Alex Smith from the 49ers, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they take the best tackle in the draft, and furthermore, wouldn’t be too surprised to find that tackle was Eric Fisher instead of Joeckel.

Jonathan Cooper

Cooper has been my guy since I first started watching tape of these offensive linemen.  True to my expectation, he continued to impress at the combine, and if anything has now played his way right out of the Cowboys reach.  At this point, he looks like he’s usurped Chance Warmack as the best overall guard in the draft, particularly because of his much touted athleticism.  Cooper added over 20 lbs for the combine and he still moved really well, excelling in all of the drills.  I am pretty sure he will be gone by the time pick 18 rolls around.  Chance Warmack, contrary to the early indicators, might still be there – and that’s really nothing to be upset about.

Margus Hunt

Who are you Margus Hunt?  I am normally very leery of ‘workout warriors’, but I have to tell you – I really like what I saw out of this monster of a viking.  This guy is an absolute freak – and to me, and I realize I am in the minority here, is more intriguing than Ziggy Ansah.  Both of them are physical wonders and are extremely raw, but showing flashes of elite talent.  I’m just not sure I would want to gamble a top 15 pick on a raw project like Ansah when you have just as much of a chance of getting a bust as you do a boom.  Depending on where Hunt falls in the draft – and I honestly have no idea where that is after an uber-performance at the combine – he could be well worth a gamble of a pick.  If he’s there in the 2-3 round, is he worth the risk?  Just for giggles, this is how Ansah and Margus Hunt stack up in a few measurables.

I’m not saying Hunt is better than Ansah… I’m just saying it’s very interesting.

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