The Dallas Cowboys officially released defensive tackle Jay Ratliff on Wednesday by putting him on the failed physical list, according to Nick Eatman reporting for the team's official website.
The Cowboys officially cut Jay Ratliff http://t.co/pDdYmI9qNI— Nick Eatman (@nickeatman) October 16, 2013
In a more detailed account, Eatman provided additional context behind Ratliff's contract termination and his myriad of health issues:
Ratliff has dealt with a groin injury since last year when he underwent sports hernia surgery. The defensive tackle reported to training camp and suffered a hamstring injury in the conditioning run. He stayed with the team through camp but was eventually placed on PUP. He was eligible to come off PUP this week, and while Jerry Jones and the Cowboys have stayed mum on the situation, the decision was made Wednesday afternoon to cut ties with eight-year veteran.
Owner Jerry Jones refused to discuss Ratliff, saying that it has become a legal issue for the team (via Brandon George of The Dallas Morning News:
Jerry Jones said he can't get into DT Jay Ratliff injury specifics because "this has now become a legal" matter.— Brandon George (@DMN_George) October 17, 2013
By cutting ties with Ratliff—who signed a five-year, $48.6 million extension in 2011—the Cowboys stop paying his $1.34 million base salary. However, most of a $10.3 million cap charge will carry over into next year, per Eatman.
Ratliff is a four-time Pro Bowler who was a steal as a seventh-round pick in the 2005 NFL draft, but he has struggled with injuries in recent years. After playing just six games in 2012, he hadn't hit the gridiron for Dallas at all this season.
The Cowboys didn't get a single snap out of Jay Ratliff for the $18 million guaranteed he got on extension that just kicked in this year.— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) October 16, 2013
Did Dallas make the right move in releasing Ratliff?
ESPNDallas.com's Calvin Watkins reported Tuesday that owner Jerry Jones said Ratliff may be placed on injured reserve, but the organization evidently felt like going in a different direction altogether.
When healthy, Ratliff has been a force that commands a double-team. Considering his position on the interior of the defensive line, he has put a lot of pressure on opposing quarterbacks in registering as many as 7.5 sacks in a season back in 2008.
It would have been interesting to see what Ratliff could do at 100 percent in the Cowboys' new 4-3 scheme controlled by Monte Kiffin after thriving as a nose tackle for several seasons under the watch of Wade Phillips and Rob Ryan.
The Dallas defense ranks 30th in pass defense and in total yards allowed per contest this season, both of which are areas Ratliff could have helped improve.
If he can get to 100 percent, he shouldn't have trouble latching on with another organization.