Free Agency = Free Time

By PFC Writer Bradley Davis

As a Cowboys fan at least some good will come from this years free agency – I’ll get to practice playing guitar, I’ll get to do a little Spring cleaning and I may even take those dance lessons my fiance’s been talking about.

In short, don’t look for the Cowboys to make any kind of splash this off season.  Having said that, it doesn’t mean they won’t lose a few players.  Curiosity struck and I set out to find just how many players the Cowboys stand to lose this year and I was pleasantly surprised.  Did you know that the Cowboys have 29 players of their 53 man roster signed through the year 2010?  In fact, over half of those players are signed through 2011 on into 2012!

But you can’t keep everyone.  Chris Canty, Keith Davis and Tank Johnson are among the Cowboys short list of players that may have worn a Dallas jersey for the last time.  Although Dallas will obviously lose more players than just these three, I feel as though these three players are the only ones they would truly miss next season.  In free agency it’s important to keep in mind that there is usually some reason why teams would be willing to let go of certain players.  If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.  Anything short of the team simply not being able to afford a player should raise a few questions as to why the team is willing to let them go.

Having said that, the loss of Canty scares me more than that of any other player.  Canty has been the Cowboys rock.  He’s a solid performer, his 6’7″ frame and 300 pound build make his ability to find the ball a rarity.  He’s got the speed to get to the runner and the muscle to bring him down. Not much gets past Chris Canty.  This season alone, without even being a starter, he managed to put together 37 tackles, 25 solo, 12 assist, and 3 sacks.  He is arguably one of the biggest reasons the Cowboys did so well against the run this season.  Now he didn’t get many sacks but I think that had more to do with his limited playing time than it did his potential.  He’s just now starting to come into his own, having just finished up his fourth season in the NFL.  But do you want to know the best part?  He won’t be that expensive.  He’s young, fast and talented enough that given the right situation, with the right team, he may just become a household name.

Grade: A-

Next we’ll take a look at Keith Davis.  What a whirlwind of a season for Keith Davis.  Once Bill Parcells took over in Miami, Keith Davis was one of the many Cowboys players he brought in. For some reason, before the start of the season Davis was back in Dallas.   Now I’m not sure what went wrong for Davis in Miami, but I do know Dallas welcomed his return to their crippled special teams unit.  Then, after Roy Williams broke his forearm the first game of the season, Keith Davis got the promotion he had hoped to land in Miami, starting safety.  His numbers weren’t bad, scoring 39 tackles, 30 solo and 9 assist, but they weren’t great either.  He did split time off and on with Pat Watkins and Anthony Henry but for the most part Keith Davis was their guy.  With a secondary that already had its issues, losing Williams was not good.  Now I like Davis and I’d like to see Dallas keep him, but you can’t justify offering a long term deal to a career special teams player.

Grade: B-

Last and least expensive, Tank Johnson.  I guess if you factor in that Dallas has only paid him a league minimum over the past two years the guy’s a steal, right?  Wrong.  Tank produced just 22 tackles, 13 solo, 9 assist and 1 sack… if it wasn’t for the sack I’d say Deon Sanders was a better tackler.  Now that it’s time to restructure his contract it’s hard to justify paying him any more than that league minimum, worth about half a million dollars for a fourth year player.  Looks like a rookie wanting number 95 next season might just get his wish.  I realize I’m being a bit harsh but what I see here is another one of Jerry Jones’s “taking them under his wing” trick that just didn’t pay off.  I think what the Cowboys saw in Johnson was a player that looked brilliant playing on the brilliantly coached Chicago Bears defense. His only problem in Chicago was keeping his personal life together.  Although he’s managed to keep his personal life together, unlike Pacman Jones, his on the field performance has left much to be desired.  He’s been alright in rotation but has not proved himself enough in practice or on the field to earn anything more than that spot, in rotation.

Grade: C

Oh, and for the record, Adam “Pacman” Jones is available…

Grade: really?

Hope this helps, I’ve got to run – I just found the guitar tabs for “Stairway to Heaven.”