Just before the Dallas Cowboys faced off against the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale, AZ on Saturday, long-time Cowboys Play-By-Play Commentator Brad Sham tweeted:
"“Forget a Brian Winters deal. Dead. Not coming.”"
Nov 21, 2011; Foxboro, MA, USA; New England Patriots guard Brian Waters (54) prior to a game against the Kansas City Chiefs at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports
Due to the number of injuries they have suffered on their offensive line, the Cowboys had made an offer to sign 36-year old free agent All-Pro guard Brian Waters last week. It was believed that the 12-year veteran was simply waiting for the end of training camp to announce his decision. But now it appears the deal is all but dead. Here’s what Sham said on 105.3 The Fan just prior Saturday’s kick-off:
"“Everything can change. What I’ve been told is that deal is dead. Dead. Dead. It doesn’t mean they won’t claim someone. Or make a different trade. But in terms of going out and signing someone or doing something Brian Waters-ish, not happening. Forget that.”"
Sham went on to further speculate what both Waters and the Cowboys were thinking:
"“This is what it says to me. I think they would have taken him if they got it. I think he’s just ready to retire…I thought this the Friday before the Oakland game, I think it was. When Bernadeau came back into the practices. It’s his job to lose. Livings went back to the sick list. Leary took the job by the throat and claimed it. That’s Bernadeau’s opportunity to do that at right guard. No Brian Waters. He’s not coming.”"
Executive Vice President for the Cowboys, Stephen Jones, all but confirmed Sham’s claims later on that same radio station:
"“We’ve kind of moved on from there, for the time being. We don’t ever rule anything out, but there’s a lot of different ways to get players, and we’re certainly looking at all of them. We certainly would still like to improve ourselves there in the interior of our offensive line if we could.”"
But apparently, Waters still wants to play football. It appears to simply be about money and comfort level. This news according to an unnamed league source in a story by Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk:
"“It hasn’t worked out with Dallas for a variety of reasons up to this point,” the source said, “but it isn’t because he does not want to play. He absolutely would play there or somewhere else if it is the right situation in all the ways it needs to be.”"
The Cowboys have a number of injuries along their offensive line. Guard Nate Livings, guard Ron Leary, tackle Jeremy Parnell and center/guard Kevin Kolwalski are all currently sidelined. Guard Mackenzy Bernadeau just returned to practice last week and was able to play in today’s match-up against the Cardinals. David Arkin was the other starting guard.
This is the second time the Cowboys have been rejected by free agent offensive lineman this month. Last week, All-Pro guard Brandon Moore verbally agreed to a deal with Dallas and then abruptly retired. Waters was said to be the Cowboys top choice to help bolster their ailing line, but it appears that is no longer an option.
The Cowboys ranked 31st in rushing offense last season. And with the exception of rookie and first round pick center Travis Frederick, their line is essentially made up of the same exact players. Without some help via a trade or free agency, it could be another rough season in “Big D”.