Every year as training camp concludes, teams prepare to pare down their rosters for the start of the regular season. If you stop and examine the team, you can see the guys that are the long-term fixtures with the franchise, and others who are really auditioning for the following season elsewhere in the league.
How, you may ask?
Notice what players the team lets go into the season without a new deal, or at least starting the discussions for a new deal. I call this the Martellus Bennett effect. You know the guy that is holding the roster space, but in no way does the team want to spend the money required to keep him around any longer than his current deal.
The players I am talking about are those that have either failed to meet the expectations of where they were drafted, or are too injury-prone to warrant a big investment in their future. Often the teams take the approach that they cannot do better right now, but hope to upgrade that position next year with a more reliable player.
Could the team have been more obvious on what they think of Mike Jenkins’ future in Dallas? They spend a ton of money on Brandon Carr, spent their top pick on Morris Claiborne and locked up Orlando Scandrick with a long-term deal.
Think the plan is to also sign Mike Jenkins long term? Doubt it. Instead they are wise to hold on to him this year for depth. Then, when he walks and goes elsewhere in 2013, they can at least still get a compensatory pick in the 2014 draft for him. Maybe he can return to Florida and play for one of the teams in the Sunshine state.
Unless Arkansas alumni, Jerry Jones, has a soft spot for Felix, the Cowboys would be better off investing money in a backup to DeMarco Murray than throwing more good money after bad by signing Fragile Felix to a new deal.
It’s not that Felix is a bad player. It is that he can’t seem to stay healthy, and when he is healthy he seems too tentative to be the impact player the Cowboys thought he would be when they selected him in the first round. Maybe Felix and the less than durable Darren McFadden can reunite in Oakland next year. They seemed better when they shared the carries.
Even if Stephen makes the final roster this year, it is painfully obvious that he has fallen out of favor with this coaching staff, and a change of scenery might be in order. McGee has a few starts under his belt but seems to have taken a significant step back in his development.
With Kyle Orton under contract, it is not like he will get a real chance to see the field anytime soon. McGee could be a nice No. 2 in this league, but it seems as if his days in Dallas end at the conclusion of this season. Might make a nice backup for his old college coach Mike Sherman with the Dolphins.
With more pressing needs to fill, the Cowboys had little choice but to franchise the underperforming Spencer for this season. That probably won’t happen again next year as Dallas has drafted some additional players.
Along with the continued development of Victor Butler, the Cowboys likely won’t invest such a high price tag on Spencer, a player with a less than stellar work ethic.
Spencer is a solid player, but certainly will be looking for a much higher salary and more long-term commitment than the Cowboys are willing to invest in him. He’s shown flashes of dominance, but also he’s openly admitted to taking plays off.
If you are a fan of Anthony Spencer, (if there is such a thing) enjoy him this season as next year he’ll most likely be gone.
His second tour with the Cowboys will likely end similar to the way his first in that many won’t notice he’s gone. Coleman came from Cleveland as one of Rob’s guys, but is nothing more than a role player who will get squeezed out as Dallas continues to improve the overall talent of the team.
Coleman is not a lock for this current roster, but with his experience and familiarity with the system, he should keep his spot for one more year.