Dallas Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick isn’t worth a six-year, $28.2 million contract, especially such a deal that includes $10 million guaranteed. He went from being the Cowboys’ slot (or No. 3) cornerback to being the fourth player at the position this off-season and he knows he’s lucky to be in such a fortunate position.
For whatever reason, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones awarded Scandrick with that nice contract extension right before the beginning of last season. Scandrick’s 2010 campaign wasn’t anything special; he tackled 46 ball carriers, defended nine passes, intercepted one and recorded 2.5 sacks. While those numbers aren’t awful, they sure aren’t awesome, either and that money could have been better spent elsewhere.
This off-season, the Cowboys spent more money on cornerbacks. First, Dallas signed former Kansas City Chiefs top cover man Brandon Carr and then traded up in the 2012 NFL Draft to take LSU product Morris Claiborne with the No. 6 overall pick. Needless to say, the Cowboys have two new starting cornerbacks, with the timing dependent on whether Mike Jenkins, in the final year of his contract, can recover from off-season shoulder surgery.
Dallas also ridded itself of Terence Newman, Alan Ball and Frank Walker by way of cuts and free agency, completely a decent-sized roster overhaul. With the two new starters, Jenkins is now the No. 3 option on the team, meaning Scandrick now slides down to No. 4. That doesn’t seem to bother the Boise State product, though.
This is year No. 5 for me here and I try not to think about that,” Scandrick said. “This has become a passing league and when you’re on a good football team, you’re playing with a lot of leads so teams are going to try and pass to get back in the game. It’s not technically a starter but it’s not technically a reserve; it’s an in-between thing. I kind of look at it as the glass half-full instead of half-empty.”
It’s a good thing Scandrick is looking at his role as a “glass half-full” situation because it sure looks like a “glass half-empty” scenario for Dallas. Scandrick was responsible for several deep passing touchdowns given up due to blown coverage in 2011, three of which cost Dallas critical wins.
However, Rob Ryan “likes” Scandrick, which is probably a key reason why he was awarded the contract extension in August. Scandrick supporters say his poor play was because “he was a victim of horrific safety play.” It can’t be argued the Cowboys’ safety play over the past few seasons has been anything short of awful, but that’s not enough to cover up Scandrick’s mistakes.
Other half-hearted Scandrick enthusiasts say he’s “suspect” on the outside, but he’s a “lockdown corner” in the slot. Indeed, he’s better in the slot, but that’s not saying much. The three game-deciding touchdowns he gave up last year were all against receivers in the slot. Case closed.
Even though he was one of the weak links in the Cowboys’ secondary over the past few seasons, Scandrick does possess worlds of potential, which is probably another deciding factor in the decision to award him the contract. If Ryan likes him, he can’t be completely useless, but he needs to show that potential in 2012. In short, it’s a really good thing he’s content with this “glass half-full” role because the ice he’s walking on will get a lot thinner if he doesn’t improve this season.