The drama-filled saga that was Jay Ratliff‘s tenure with the Dallas Cowboys has finally ended. After weeks of speculation and snide remarks from the players and members of the Cowboys’ organization (particularly Jerry Jones), the team cut Ratliff on Wednesday when the former Pro Bowler failed a physical after he became eligible to come off the reserve/PUP list. Ratliff is now done in Dallas, but the nature of his tenure reflects the franchise as a whole.
Ratliff was once a start on the Cowboys’ defensive line and the fact he made the Pro Bowl four straight times from 2008 through 2011 proves that. However, he only played six games in 2012 and never returned to form after suffering a sports hernia last season and then straining his hamstring during training camp this year. Thus, he never reached his full potential as a player.
The Cowboys are in the same boat: they never can seem to reach their full potential. In addition, the ‘Boys are quite the Jekyll and Hyde team, which describes Ratliff perfectly. Many teammates have cited his extreme moodiness and inability/unwillingness to build camaraderie with the other players on the Cowboys’ roster seemed mild compared to his physical altercations with Jones and beat writer Calvin Watkins.
Another way that Ratliff embodies the philosophy (or lack thereof) of the Cowboys is bad decisions. The team gave him a contract extension before the 2011 season, which was warranted at the time, but then backloaded his contract in a restructure early in 2013 that will affect the team in 2014 even though he won’t be on the roster. So now Ratliff will count $6.93 million against the salary cap next year and the Cowboys will have nothing to show for it.
The divorce was certainly ugly as Ratliff took shots at the Cowboys’ medical staff throughout the preseason, alluding to the fact he was very unhappy with the way the team treated his extremely long recovery from sports hernia surgery. In addition, Jones made it pretty clear on Sunday Night Football that Ratliff was done as a Cowboy, which led to reports of just that during the broadcast.
Basically, Ratliff needed to go. It’s sad that he never was able to fully develop as a 2005 seventh-round pick aside from his solid Pro Bowl seasons. But at this point, it’s best the Cowboys cut ties with him, although it’s going to cost them almost $7 million to get rid of him. Such is the way things work in Dallas.