Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant was a no-show as expected for the first day of the team’s voluntary off-season program on Monday.
Bryant has yet to sign his franchise tender, guaranteeing him $12.7 million in 2015.
The surprising absentee was cornerback Orlando Scandrick, who is unhappy with a contract that will pay him $1.5 million in 2015.
Scandrick’s agent, Ron Slavin, has had talks with the Cowboys about bumping his salary, to no avail.
The Cowboys pointed out that Scandrick could lose another $500,000 because of a de-escalator in his contract, requiring him to participate in 90 percent of the off-season program.
But that’s a moot point to Scandrick’s camp. If he’s willing to sit out because he’s unhappy with $1.5 million, he surely won’t play for $1 million.
Scandrick has been the Cowboys’ best cornerback the past two seasons and has outplayed his contract. He is scheduled to make less than Brandon Carr ($8 million) and Morris Claiborne ($2.6 million) in 2015.
Making the situation more tenuous for the Cowboys is the uncertainty surrounding Carr and Claiborne. Carr is expected to be asked to take a pay cut or be released.
And Claiborne finished last season on injured reserve after suffering a ruptured patellar tendon Sept. 28 against the New Orleans Saints and might not be ready for the start of training camp.
The Cowboys could draft a cornerback with the 27th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft. They brought in top corners such as Marcus Peters, Byron Jones and Kevin Johnson for pre-draft visits.
But it’s highly unlikely a rookie would seamlessly replace Scandrick, who can play inside and outside and has become one of the leaders on defense.
Look for the Carr situation to come to a head next month, possibly spurring some movement with Scandrick.
When the team forced right tackle Doug Free to take a pay cut in 2013, it happened May 15.
Scandrick remains hopeful the Cowboys will address his contract. Until then, he will remain in California, working out with his personal trainer.
Clarence E. Hill Jr., 817-390-7760