Posted: 4:00 p.m. Tuesday, July 30, 2013
By Dave Halprin
Bill Barnwell has put together a list of players in the NFL who have really bad contracts. He creates a full offensive and defensive team out of these guys. His list can be found at ESPN, and he breaks down each contract into five categories of badness. The Old-CBA Rookie deal, the Marginal Talent deal, the Paying For The Outlier deal, the System Guys Out Of System deal, and finally the Ever Fallen In Love With A Player You Shouldn't Have? deal.
So BTB community, which two players on the Cowboys make the list? I'll give you a hint, one is on offense and one is on defense.
Okay, enough with the suspense. One is Doug Free, kind of an easy pick. The other is Orlando Scandrick. He's not so obvious, but Barnwell makes a case anyway.
As for Doug Free, Barnwell is citing the original deal he signed before the restructured pay cut because of the bonus money.
Offensive Tackle: Doug Free, Cowboys
Contract Flaws: Paying for the Outlier, Falling in Love With a Player They Shouldn't Have
Dallas was pleased as punch with itself after Free had one competent season at left tackle in 2010, so it gave him a four-year, $32 million deal and guaranteed $17 million for Free to stay there. Since then, he has lost the left tackle job and nearly lost the right tackle job, forcing the Cowboys to restructure his deal. The Football Outsiders Almanac 2013 notes that Free was fifth in the league in blown blocks and led the league in both false starts (eight) and total penalties (15). Offensive linemen have fluke years, too.
It's hard to quibble with this one. Although instead of saying he lost the left tackle job, it was more that Dallas couldn't pass up on Tyron Smith and had always planned to move him to the left side once he got a little experience under his belt. But there is no doubt that Free has been in free-fall since that excellent year at left tackle.
Of course, if Free continues the re-birth that we've seen so far in training camp, then paying $3.5 million this year as a right tackle could actually be a shrewd investment. If he recovers to the level of competent tackle, then all is sort of forgiven.
On to Orlando Scandrick. The problem Barnwell has here is paying starter money to a slot corner.
Cornerback: Orlando Scandrick, Cowboys
Contract Flaw: Falling in Love With a Player They Shouldn't Have
Scandrick is a pretty good, undersize slot cornerback whom the Cowboys are paying like he's a starter: A six-year, $28.2 million contract is simply too much for a player archetype that's so easy to find around the league. Even a restructuring this offseason just pushed a bigger bonus for Scandrick into the future; he's closer to being cut than to justifying this deal, although the dead-money situation should prevent that from happening until next year at the earliest.
Barnwell has a point here, but to some degree I think he's underestimating the value of a competent slot corner. I don't necessarily agree that they are "so easy to find around the league" and with today's NFL offenses, slot corner might as well be classified as starter. Is Scandrick's contract a little large, you could argue that is true. But is he close to being cut? I don't see that in the near future unless he, and the pass defense, totally tank this season.
It's a fun list to read, go over and check out some of the big names on it like Troy Polamalu, Jon Beason, and Sam Bradford.