Say what you will about Jerry Jones, one thing that cannot be debated is that he sure makes things interesting. Unfortunately, the Dallas Cowboys fan base, this writer included, could go for some plain ol’ boredom. With one week left before free agency and Dallas under the cap prior to the mandated time frame, Jones decided the services of Gerald Sensabaugh were no longer needed. Was it a good move? That’s debatable. Sensabaugh surely never set the world on fire with his play but he was solid. More than anything, it just seemed to be an unnecessary change. The ability to save $1.4 million in cap space does not seem to outweigh the fact the following names are now all that are on the roster at his position:
Sep 5, 2012; East Rutherford, NJ, USA; Dallas Cowboys defensive back Barry Church (42) breaks up pass intended for New York Giants wide receiver Hakeem Nicks (88) during the first half at MetLife Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jim O
Those three players represent a total of four games started in the NFL. Honestly, I like Barry Church. I think he is the type of player we need and has a lot of potential but he is also undrafted, unproven and coming off a season lost to a torn Achilles tendon injury. I am not as sold on Matt Johnson. I feel like Jerry Jones loves this kid a little TOO much. A small college background against lower level competition followed by a rookie year completely lost to multiple injuries does not instill confidence. I know it’s still very early but I can’t help to think he could be the second coming of Justin Beriault. Pellerin was on the practice squad after playing one preseason game last year.
This leaves four options as I see it. The most sensible and therefore least likely is my draft day dreams come true and either of the two LSU safeties I covet (Tyrann Mathieu or Eric Reid) are available in round three AND get chosen. The surprise option would be to bring on a free agent like Charles Woodson or Dashon Goldson but that seems either unlikely or too expensive. The last and most likely options are both dismal.
A. The Cowboys blow a first round pick on a safety and fail to address the offensive and defensive line needs or
B. Your 2013 starting defensive backfield consists of Barry Church and Matt Johnson
As if this all wasn’t deflating enough, the mindlessness continued on the same day. With the clock ticking down on the chance for the Cowboys to use their franchise task, instead of doing the smart thing and not using it, Dallas committed $10.6 million to tag LB / DE? Anthony Spencer. So many reasons come to mind as to why this was yet another sign that the Cowboys are clueless to making the proper personnel decisions.
Dec 16, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) is sacked by Dallas Cowboys linebacker Anthony Spencer (93) at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports
What’s the best case scenario?
That Dallas has Spencer’s services for one more year and he duplicates his output from the last year? Great, then you have tagged him twice, cannot do so again and then either let him walk or (much more likely) sign him to a long term deal. There are too many young cornerstones on this team that Dallas needs to keep in mind financially for that to make sense.
That it gives the Cowboys time to work out a long term deal this year? Well, then you forget any upgrades via free agency due to the salary cap mess that would cause. Besides, if that’s the move, then why did you waste a fourth round draft pick on Kyle Wilber.
That the Cowboys can somehow con another team into giving up a high draft pick in return for Spencer? Yeah, right. When was the last time Jerry pulled a fast one on anyone?
I have never been shy about my stance on Spencer. I think he is a really good player. The problem is that Dallas cannot afford to pay a really good player $11 million a year. He also is possibly a man without a position. He’s fine as a 3-4 outside LB but of course Dallas is switching to 4-3 and he’s probably too small to play DE. I was always cautious of the fact his best year just happened to be in a contract year. Then there is also this fun fact. According to Football Outsiders’ game charting, six of his career high 11 sacks were circumstantial. He was credited for one sack where he went unblocked, two were because he just beat another teammate to the QB and three were coverage sacks.
All in all, we as Cowboys fans have to hope and pray that these two moves do not undermine the switch in scheme or handcuff the team financially or else more mediocrity is surely to be in Dallas’ future.