Those of you old enough to remember Blackie Sherrod will appreciate our nod to his greatness. Coming every Sunday.
By Matthew Postins
We haven’t heard much from Jerry Jones this week. One assumes he’s busy pilfering through sofa cushions at Valley Ranch looking for loose change to spend in free agency. You know your cap woes are bad when you can’t even shop at Wal-Mart for talent.
Tony Romo is going to have some explaining to do when he’s finally made available to the media come April, especially if a contract extension isn’t done. Look at Tom Brady. He allowed the Patriots to re-work his deal, create cap room and they signed Danny Amendola. Now Tom’s still getting his money. But it shows Brady’s commitment to winning. Romo’s contract went untouched as free agency began and the Cowboys were hamstrung. Now, the Cowboys’ cap woes aren’t Romo’s fault. But when you talk about winning championships and you can help your team fortify itself for a run at a title by re-working your deal and you don’t, that’s just bad PR.
Mickey Spagnola at DallasCowboys.com wrote a piece the other day that I found interesting. It was a piece on the Cowboys’ recent drafts and he made the point that the Cowboys have 16 of their last 22 draft picks on the roster, including six starters and four potential starters for 2013. That would span the last three drafts, 2010-12. He’s not wrong. The starters are Dez Bryant, Sean Lee, Tyron Smith, Bruce Carter, DeMarco Murray and Morris Claiborne. The 2011 draft is looking particularly good, with Smith, Carter and Murray. But let’s not forget part of the reason the Cowboys are so reliant on these players is because their drafts in the first three years after Bill Parcells – 2007-09 – were pitiful. Only two players – tackle Doug Free and defensive end Anthony Spencer – are still on the roster. And Free might get cut. That includes the infamous “special teams” draft of 2009. It just goes to show that every draft, no matter how much talent you already have, matters.
By the end of the 2013 season, Cowboys fans are not going to miss Kevin Ogletree, who has signed with Tampa Bay. Dwayne Harris should fit into that No. 3 role nicely, and his return skills could make him an explosive player over the course of a whole season. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him in the NFL Top 10 among kickoff and punt returners, as long as the Cowboys use him in both roles.
I’m not a salary “capologist,” but I’m trying to be. At first I questioned releasing defensive tackle Marcus Spears after the cap deadline. I thought doing so before would provide the Cowboys more cap room to work with. But, after further analysis, that would have been an incorrect assumption. This is information I picked up from previous stories at other outlets regarding Spears’ contract. He signed a five-year contract in 2011 with a $3.5 million signing bonus. If you prorate that bonus over the five years of the contract it’s a reasonable hit per year, approximately $700,000. The rest of the contract – approximately $9 million – was base salary. So the $9 million in base salary goes away. But the rest of the cap hit — $2.1 million – would have been accelerated into 2013 had Dallas released Spears before the deadline. Instead, as a June 1 roster cut, Spears will only count about $1 million against the cap in 2014 and 2015. So this was actually a smart move by Dallas.
I’m waffling on whether I want the Dallas Mavericks to make the playoffs. On one hand the Mavs are pulling strings like a playoff contender, and I like that. But the Mavs could sorely use that lottery pick. They haven’t had one in more than a decade. The bad news is that the Mavs’ last lottery pick was Etan Thomas of Syracuse, and their draft record overall since acquiring Dirk Nowitzki, frankly, has been awful. The only significant pick during that span was Josh Howard. So maybe it doesn’t matter either way.
There’s no way you can sell me on trading for or signing Dwight Howard when it comes to the Mavericks. I wouldn’t want the headaches if I were anyone in the Mavs’ organization.
I’m digging the new NHL Divisions for 2013-14. Purely as a Stars fan, I was beyond sick of the Pacific Division. There’s no connection, hockey-wise, for Dallas to those cities. They’re just games. The Stars’ roots in Minnesota provide some context to being in this new Midwest Division. Chicago is part of the Original Six NHL teams, while Dallas (as the Minnesota North Stars) and St. Louis were part of the 1967 expansion class. More games with the Minnesota Wild can’t be a bad thing for Dallas, either. I love the fact that the NHL finally got their act together and created a schedule that allows every Eastern Conference team to come to Dallas, too. If I’m the Stars the only thing I hate is losing is those two or three home games with Detroit each year. Now it’s just one, since Detroit is moving to the East.
What is the league waiting on when it comes to a Minnesota Winter Classic? My buddy Chuck and I are waiting on a New Year’s Day game between the Wild and Stars at Target Field. C’mon. This one’s a no-brainer.
I think the Rangers should make a move to fortify their No. 5 spot in the rotation. I’ve heard free agent Kyle Lohse, Tigers starter Rick Porcello and even the mercurial Joba Chamberlain bandied about as possible names. I like Lohse, and you can get him right now. But I wouldn’t be opposed to Porcello, who has won at least 10 games in each of his four MLB seasons. He has postseason experience and the Rangers would control his rights for two years. Porcello wouldn’t cost you that much, either. I wouldn’t touch Chamberlain. I don’t think his head is on straight.
My Opening Day Rangers lineup? A.J. Pierzynski at catcher, Mitch Moreland at first, Ian Kinsler at second, Elvis Andrus at short, Adrian Beltre at third, David Murphy in left, Leonys Martin in center, Nelson Cruz in right and Lance Berkman at designated hitter. That lineup doesn’t make me unhappy.
By the way, Nolan Ryan and Jon Daniels deserve better than this dog and pony show of the past two weeks. Wouldn’t you think that if Ryan was unhappy with his role in the organization and he knew about this in November that he would have left by now? Ryan strikes me as someone with a low tolerance for these sorts of shenanigans.