The Dallas Cowboys have officially broken camp and are now on temporary leave until July 19 when training camp officially opens in Oxnard, CA. Now is the time for the front office, coaching staff, and players to get all of their ducks in a row so everyone is ready to hit it hard come mid-July. One of the biggest issues the Cowboys can address between now and the start of training camp is signing some of their raising stars to long-term deals. But there is a great deal of risk with extending some players too soon without seeing if they can work some of the bugs out, so to speak.
Then there’s the issue of Cowboys’ brass and some of the bad contracts they’ve issued in the past. Owner and general manager Jerry Jones has not always had a good track record when it comes to extending players. It’s true there have been a fair amount of bad contracts dealt by Jones and company, but that shouldn’t deter them from at least looking at some of their brighter star’s contracts during this down period before training camp starts.
Sean Lee is the name that has been thrown around the most as of late. Apparently his agent is in talks with Dallas about a long term extension. Lee is set to make $630,000 this season and then hit the free agent market at the end of the season. Lee has had a laundry list of injuries and who knows if he’ll ever be able to play a full season unimpeded. Locking him up may be a risky endeavor, but it may be a necessary evil.
What happens if he does play a full season injury free? We’ve seen the impact he has when he is on the field and healthy. If he plays 2013 at his naturally high level of production, the price tag just went up astronomically. If they lock him up now there is a better chance they get Lee at a discounted rate. Pick your poison folks.
Bruce Carter is in a similar situation as Lee, just a year behind. He was an absolute beast last season, especially when Lee went down and was put on injured reserve. And yet he himself landed on IR shortly thereafter.
So what do you do with a player like Carter, who is set to excel in Monte Kiffin’s defense and could possibly have one of the best seasons a linebacker has had in Dallas in quite a few years?
Carter is set to make $766,327 in 2013, $986,991 in 2014, and then he’ll hit the open market in 2015. So do you try to make a preemptive strike and extend him early, or do you let the situation mature and see if he’s really the player we hope he’ll be?
Dez Bryant is signed through 2014 and will make a “measly” $1.5 this season. That sounds like a lot to most people, but for a receiver like Bryant who is clearly the best pass-catcher in Dallas, and may be the best in the entire NFL by season’s end, he is being paid below market value.
He may not be as much of a risk to lock up lock up long-term, from a talent standpoint, but there is another side to this coin.
Bryant has has his fair share of run-ins since he’s been in the NFL. From being thrown out of malls, to having domestic disputes with family members, there is a track record there and it should always be taken into account when making a decision like this. Sure he’s been on his best behavior this offseason, but could a huge contract change all of that?
Bryant will have a huge payday either way, but it may be beneficial to see if his quiet offseason away from football is a sign of things to come, or just an outlier in the grand scheme of things.