The Scandrick extension: Good timing or undeserved trust?

The Scandrick extension: Good timing or undeserved trust?

Cowboys Cornerback Orlando Scandrick isn't perfect. But his age and consistency led the team to invest in his future.

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by Or Moyal

wfaa.com

Posted on August 25, 2011 at 9:42 AM

Updated Monday, Jul 23 at 3:16 PM

The Cowboys aren't flush with cash.


As of last week, the team was only reported to have 6 million dollars' worth of cap room. Owner Jerry Jones has also accumulated quite a bit of dead money for next year after cutting Leonard Davis, Roy Williams and Marion Barber. It's imperative that the front office start making good investments again; finding young, cost-controllable players ready to contribute during their prime. Yesterday, the Cowboys committed 27 million dollars ($10 M guaranteed) over five years to a player who had never been more than their third cornerback. But as a premise, it actually makes some sense. 

There's always a risk factor associated with investing in a player. And from a technical perspective, it seems like the Cowboys overpaid for Scandrick. But the team's looking at a few other factors.

First, Scandrick is merely 24. For some perspective, realize that unless Sean Lee breaks through to the first team, none of the Cowboys' projected defensive starters are that young. Scandrick has serious upside. He ran a 4.32 40-yard dash at the NFL combine, has good size for a cornerback, is a solid tackler and has shown good quickness. The ingredients are there for Scandrick to become a strong #2 or usable #1 cornerback, and he's shown flashes of that. But he's got to put it all together, which is why the Cowboys are gambling that...

 

He's not done maturing. Many players take extensive game time and responsibility to realize their potential. Scandrick has played regularly as the third corner, but has never received the security or commitment that comes with being a starter. By making this move, it's very likely the Cowboys are willing to elevate his role in this year's defense. Scandrick has looked very impressive in training camp. There's a possibility he's just being judged against the low level of competition from the rest of the corners or being rewarded for the injuries of Mike Jenkins and Terence Newman. But Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan and Head Coach Jason Garrett have spoken glowingly of his contributions, and as part of the owner's inner circle, they'd have every reason to downplay things, making Jerry Jones' job in negotiations easier. But because they didn't, it's possible that...

 

Ryan thinks he's essential to the new defensive scheme. Scandrick's versatility as a cover guy, run stopper and blitzer is unparalleled among the team's cornerbacks (The team flirted with converting him to safety after his rookie season.) In theory, he's a perfect fit for Rob Ryan's unpredictable, Caution-to-the-Winds defense. It's quite plausible Jerry Jones got endless praise about the young corner from his new Defensive Coordinator, prompting the big payday. Ryan could also think there's something untapped within Scandrick's profile, as...

 

He may be better focused.  Reporters caught up to Scandrick after yesterday, after he had his best practice of the camp. Scandrick spoke like a man who had just been set up for life. "It was like a weight was lifted off of me. I got the contract. Now I want to step it up. I plan on having a tremendous year." Obviously, one wouldn't expect a player to say any less. It can easily be construed as PR speak. But Scandrick's a good corner, solid in every aspect of the game. He's got talent, work ethic and youth on his side. If this renewed focus can elevate him from a good #3 cornerback to a good #2, he'll be a bargain at $5 Million/year in today's NFL. 

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