The Dallas Cowboys thought they had solved their offensive line issues last month when All-Pro guard Brandon Moore verbally agreed to join the team. Unfortunately, Moore ultimately decided it was better to retire than to uproot his family to Texas. The Cowboys’ front office immediately continued their pursuit of Brian Waters, the six-time Pro Bowl guard who had shown interest in playing for a team in his home state of Texas. But only at the right price. Apparently, Dallas finally made Waters an offer he couldn’t refuse. According to a source at NFL.com, Waters has now agreed to join the Dallas Cowboys.
The 36 year-old veteran will add experience and depth to the Cowboys ailing offensive line. Expected to be an instant starter once he works off the rust of 19 months off, Waters will join a relatively young O-line that includes third year tackle Tyron Smith and rookie center Travis Frederick as starters. It is unclear when Waters will actually be in shape enough to play. Speculation from dallascowboys.com Nick Eatman is he would join the team in Week Two against the Chiefs at Kansas City. Which is ironic since Waters spent most of his career as a Chief.
The Cowboys have come late to the free agency party simply because of injury. Last year’s starting guard, Nate Livings, just had his second knee surgery this year. He was placed on the season-ending IR list on Saturday. The other starting guard, Mackenzy Bernadeau, returned to camp late in the preseason after suffering a hamstring injury during the Cowboys initial conditioning test. Reserve guard Ronald Leary is also expected to compete for a starting spot once he returns from injury.
The last time Waters played was during the 2012 Superbowl game as a member of the New England Patriots. He then refused to report to training camp the following year, despite a 1.4 million contract, claiming he wanted to play closer to his family in Texas. Allegedly, New England’s front office wanted Waters to initially take a $500, 000 pay cut to the veteran’s minimum. As the season progressed, it was reported that they offered him $4 million to play last season, but he still refused. As a form of punishment for Waters not fulfilling his commitment to them, the Patriots refused to release Waters to free agency. New England finally conceded and released him on April 30, 2013.
Waters was originally signed to the Cowboys as an undrafted free agent tight end out of the University of North Texas back in 1999. Dallas released him during training camp. He was signed by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2000 and placed on their offensive line, where he remained for the next 11 years. Pro Football Focus ranked Waters as the 12th best guard in the NFL in 2010 as a member of the Chiefs. While with the New England in 2011, Waters ranked as the league’s second best right guard and was voted on the Pro Bowl roster as a starter.
In 2009, Waters was the recipient of the Walter Payton Man of the Year Award for his various charitable off-the-field contributions. Details about his new deal with the Cowboys were undisclosed, at first. Now the team has officially released the numbers. Waters inked a one year-deal worth up to $3 million, including a $1.5 million base salary. In order to place Waters on the roster, the Cowboys released safety Eric Frampton.