The National Football League has been tagged by many as a “What have you done for me lately?” type of league.
And if the 2011 season is another uncapped year, than veterans who haven’t done much lately might find themselves without a roster spot on “America’s Team”.
A year ago the Dallas Cowboys and the rest of the NFL began the 2010 uncapped season and many assumed that would mean Jerry Jones would sign multiple free agents and build a team quickly with his large bank account.
Instead, the Cowboys did the opposite.
They released safety Ken Hamlin and left tackle Flozell Adams in a cap-saving maneuver. It was a move that would dump the veterans’ large salaries into the uncapped pool and let younger talent step up into their starting roles.
According to washingtonpost.com, if the NFL Players Association and the owners come to an agreement, we’re looking at another uncapped season for 2011.
Cowboy fans would like that to mean that their favorite team will take advantage of that by signing numerous veterans to fill the holes on the roster. But just like last year, this also means that Jerry Jones could opt to cut some veterans who are no longer worth their large paychecks.
Wide receiver Roy Williams is due $5 million in 2011, $6.8 million in 2012, and $8.5 million in 2013.
Who's most likely to be cut?
With the emergence of both Miles Austin and Dez Bryant at the wideout position combined with how reliable Jason Witten has been over the years, many could argue that Williams is the fourth-best receiving option on the roster.
Say this out loud and see if it sounds right: “I’m Jerry Jones and I want to pay my fourth-best receiver $5 million."
Didn’t feel right, did it?
Neither does spending $4.2 million on Marion Barber.
Barber is owed $4.25 million this season, $5.75 million in 2012, $6.25 million in 2013 and an even $7 million in 2014.
Much like Williams, Barber has two capable players that he shares carries with in Felix Jones and Tashard Choice. Even though Barber missed a few games in 2011, both Jones and Choice had better yards-per-carry statistics than Barber.
Barber makes far more than his backups who combined will make just over $1.6 million in 2011. But if you look at his productivity, he may not be worth the price tag.
Lastly, on the defensive side of the ball Terance Newman faces a similar challenge. His $8 million 2011 salary seems excessive for a cornerback that’ll turn 33 in September.
In the remaining years of his current six-year deal, he stands to make $8 million this season, $6 million in 2012, $7.6 million in 2013, and $7.5 million in 2014.
Newman faces the possibility of the Cowboys drafting a rookie in the upcoming draft. If the ‘Boys draft Patrick Peterson (which would be a dream-come-true for the fans) or Prince Amukamara with the ninth overall pick, Newman’s high contract can ultimately cost him his job.
Michael Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick are capable No. 2 and No. 3 corners, but one would sit for the majority of the game if the Cowboys were to draft a corner and opt to keep Newman.
To sit a capable cornerback like Scandrick, or to save $8 million by cutting the aging Newman, that’s a tough call for any general manager.
The “Not For Long” league is the league that free agency and large contracts have created for themselves. Players sign these large contracts hoping to live up to their worth.
But with an uncapped year on the horizon, the Cowboys may say bye to these vets much like they did in 2010.