Most people think that this Jesse Holley guy is just a reality show gimmick for publicity. Yeah, he can play, but if he isn’t good enough for the Bengal’s practice squad, why is he good enough for the Cowboy’s 53 man roster? Well the question can actually be answered by breaking down the rest of the receivers in camp this year.
Roy Williams and Patrick Crayton are the only two absolute locks for the Cowboys this year. Their contracts and experience prohibit cutting either one.
Miles Austin and Sam Hurd, the two undrafted free agents from 2006, are the only other two on the roster with any playing time as a receiver. (Travis Wilson’s two catches for 32 yards in three years and Isaiah Stanback’s two catches for 24 yards in two seasons doesn’t cut it) Miles has the speed and hands and Sam has the possession skills. Both have been prone to injury and carry a 2nd round tender of $1.545 million that could be whipped away if released during camp.
Isaiah Stanback would be on the next tier because of his draft position, (’07 4th rnd. 103 overall) experience with the offense and speed. Stanback’s two big setbacks are the fact that he hasn’t been able to stay on the field due to injury and his inability to grasp the total responsibilities of his position. (having played primarily quarterback in college)
Mike Jefferson, Travis Wilson and Jesse Holley have time spent in the NFL. All three lack actual game playing time and are just a notch above being rookies with the Cowboys in camp. Not to pick on him, but Mike Jefferson, who spent time on the practice squad last season, was suspended for taking a banned substance.
Manual Johnson, an ’09 7th rnd. draft pick, Kevin Ogletree and Julian Hawkins complete this year’s receivers at camp.
So lets envision this scenario:
The Cowboys desperately want to sign Demarcus Ware before the season starts. Letting the talks go on into the season would be a distraction. The length of the contract is where the two sides don’t see eye to eye. The Cowboys want a long-term deal (likely back end loaded) and Ware wants the ability to sign another big money deal before his prime is up. This means a shorter contract and more money up front. The Cowboys will need to clear more cap space.
By Montrae Holland being able to swing from guard to center and Kyle Kosier not missing a step at right guard, this makes Cory Procter andhis $1.545 million tender expendable. It would also make the loss of 2010’s 5th round pick to the Bronco’s easier to swallow.
The Cowboys have already said they will focus on a more balanced offensive attack utilizing the three headed monster in the backfield as well as their two top flight tight ends. That’s 5 strong offensive weapons, not counting Roy Williams. They also said the reason for releasing T.O. was to give the young receivers a chance. Which young receivers? This is where it gets interesting.
We said earlier, even if they wanted to, the contracts prevent them from releasing Roy and Patrick. They are also the only REAL experience at that position. I would also include Miles Austin in this final group due to his experience (limited) and speed to stretch the field. He is also used with Felix Jones to return kickoffs. Isaiah Stanback is a burner and can also be used in return situations on special teams. He also has the full support of Jerry Jones, but if he can’t stay healthy, he could be looking for a job elsewhere. Sam Hurd is basically viewed as a younger Crayton, but with injury concerns and a $1.545 million price tag. Because of their plethora of offensive weapons elsewhere, the Cowboys could avoid his salary by signing another receiver in the group with a similar skill-set for much less money.
Jerry doesn’t want this 4th and Long show to be viewed as a publicity stunt. This could also damage the reputation of Michael Irvin. If Jesse Holley can continue to improve in both his receiving and special teams play, he should be in a great position to earn the final receiver spot on the 53 man roster.
The others would only be in the mix if Stanback gets hurt again and one of them drastically stands out.
Approximately $3 million is saved and Ware’s contract becomes a closer reality.
How ’bout them apples?…I mean Cowboys