Through the early years of his career, Jay Ratliff was a dominant force in the middle of the Dallas Cowboys‘ defense. Ratliff was a machine at defensive tackle; he was excellent at wrapping up the ball carrier in the backfield and he was constantly pressuring the quarterback. But for the past two seasons, Ratliff has found difficulty staying healthy.
Last season, Ratliff missed significant amount of time due to injury, and it appears that this season is going to be the same. When Ratliff went down with an injury in 2012, the Cowboys filled the void with Josh Brent, who would later be involved in an auto accident that killed his friend and teammate Jerry Brown. Brent subsequently was taken out of the lineup leaving the Cowboys with only Robert Callaway to fill the defensive tackle position.
This year, Dallas has found a quality tackle that could man the interior of their defense. Nick Hayden is making his case to, not only survive the roster cuts, but if Ratliff can’t make it back in time for the season opener, Hayden is going to get the start at defensive tackle. I think that Dallas could afford to part ways with Ratliff, who has become more of a liability than a benefit. Ratliff is taking up valuable roster spot and has proven that he is nearing the end of the road in terms of his career. If the Cowboys decide to part ways with Ratliff, they could use his spot to possibly add depth to the offensive line.
Don’t get me wrong, I like Ratliff and I think he is an excellent player when he’s healthy, but recently he has been on the sidelines more than he’s been in the trenches. I don’t think it is beneficial for the Cowboys to keep him around any longer.