The Dallas Cowboys finally cut cornerback Terence Newman on Tuesday, clearing up cap space to use for signing free agents this off-season. Newman was scheduled to make $8.106 million against the salary cap in 2012. The move will clear up between $4 million and $6 million in cap space this off-season, depending on how the Cowboys distribute the $10 million cap penalty Dallas received on Monday.
Newman has struggled since suffering a groin injuring during the preseason in 2008 and has never been the same. His high salary has been a financial and salary cap burden on the Cowboys since his decline on the field and the Cowboys had no choice but to cut the 2003 first-round draft pick following the cap penalty. Rumors around Valley Ranch as early as December forecasted the Cowboys cutting ties with Newman.
The Cowboys’ secondary was horrendous in 2010 and 2011 with Newman as a starter. The Cowboys now only have two cornerbacks under contract in Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick, so the move to cut Newman guarantees the Cowboys will sign cornerbacks in free agency and/or the 2012 NFL Draft.
Newman’s struggles on the field have created an extremely negative view of him from the Dallas faithful, a view that was once very positive and optimistic. Cowboys fans used to look to Newman as the cornerstone of the Dallas defense, but he was the laughing stock of the unit by the end of this past season.
The Cowboys would be wise to also cut Scandrick, who received a contract extension before the 2011 season began and then played almost as poorly as Newman. Regardless, the Cowboys will now be forced to bring in new cornerbacks to replace Newman and free agents Alan Ball and Frank Walker. Jerry Jones may not bring in Cortland Finnegan and/or Brandon Carr, but whoever he gets can’t be any worse than Newman was these past two seasons.
With solid cornerback play, Rob Ryan’s defense might actually start to click in 2012 and the numbers of stars like DeMarcus Ware and Jay Ratliff very likely may increase. Regardless of their numbers, the unit as a whole will perform better without Newman holding it back. This is at least the first step in the right direction for the Cowboys to improve defensively for 2012 and beyond.