Owner Jerry Jones has acknowledged that one of the huge questions facing the Dallas Cowboys is what to do with cornerback Brandon Carr and his $12.7 million cap figure for next season.
While Carr played better in 2014 than he gets credit for, especially down the stretch, it’s no secret that he has yet to live up to the five-year, $50.1 million free-agent contract he signed in 2012.
With the Cowboys tight against the cap, he was always considered a target for relief in 2015, either by a salary cut, a contract restructuring or outright release.
Jones said he has no interest in a contract restructure because of its impact on salary cap “dead money” in future years. So it will either be roster cut or salary reduction.
If the Cowboys do cut Carr, it will likely be designated for June 1, which would save them roughly $8 million cap space in 2015 but give them a $7.4 million charge against the 2016 cap.
“There’s an issue of going and borrowing some money, borrowing it in the sense of hedging, taking money from future years,” Jones said. “There’s an issue there.
“Carr played well this year and I’m not as critical of Carr as others. But that’s a lot of money. One thing that we just got to do is we’ve got to make sure that every way we can, we get the value for the money.”
Moving on from Carr would be tricky because 2012 first-round pick Morris Claiborne missed the 2014 season with a torn patella tendon and is not guaranteed to be ready for the start of the 2015 season, putting the Cowboys on the market for cornerbacks in the draft and free agency.
Pro Bowl matters
Jason Garrett and the Cowboys’ coaching staff face an interesting situation in the Pro Bowl. There’s a chance they will be coaching against their players.
“Know their strengths, know their weaknesses,” Garrett said, jokingly. “There’s not a lot of flexibility in the systems. You have to play one kind of defense. It’s not like, ‘He can’t see it from the blindside, blitz him from over there.’”
The Pro Bowl format is no longer NFC vs. AFC. Instead, former players will pick rosters. This year, former Cowboys great Michael Irvin is one of the “general managers,” going against Cris Carter.
Colombo a candidate
Marc Colombo has emerged as a candidate to become the Cowboys’ next assistant offensive line coach.
That position opened up with Bill Callahan departing for Washington and the team promoting Frank Pollack to offensive line coach. Colombo spent the past season working in the Cowboys’ personnel department and is being discussed as someone who could join the coaching staff.
Garrett made it clear that the team will have an assistant offensive line coach, although he said who it will be hasn’t been determined. But Colombo’s name is certainly in the conversation.
“Marc Colombo has done a great job for us,” Garrett said. “You want Colombo on your side. We’ll figure out what to do with him, y’know? He’s fantastic. He really embraced his role in personnel and helped our team.”
Earlier this month, Garrett showed his appreciation for what Colombo has meant to the organization by naming him one of the “scout team” players of the week going into the wild-card game against the Detroit Lions.
Colombo, 36, was the Cowboys’ starting right tackle from 2006-10, and finished his playing career with the Miami Dolphins in 2011. He spent the first four years of his career with the Chicago Bears, who selected him with the 29th overall pick in the 2002 draft.
It’s unknown whether Monte Kiffin will return to the Cowboys’ coaching staff.
Kiffin, who turns 75 in February, joined the Cowboys two years ago as their defensive coordinator and implemented the Tampa 2 scheme. But the Cowboys had the third-worst defense in NFL history with Kiffin, and they promoted Rod Marinelli to defensive coordinator after last season. Kiffin held the title of “assistant head coach/defense.”
Marinelli signed a new three-year contract, however, and Kiffin remains in limbo. The Cowboys and Kiffin are discussing their options.
Pro Bowl addition
Cowboys long snapper Louis-Philippe Ladouceur was added to the Pro Bowl roster on Friday. It is the first Pro Bowl selection of his career. He was selected by John Harbaugh and the Baltimore Ravens coaching staff. Long snappers are designated as “need” players and are appointed by each coaching staff.
Jerry Jones has said he’d like the Cowboys to continue going to Oxnard, Calif., for part of their training camp, and that appears to be the case. There will be a new setup at their facilities in California, however.
The owner of a vacant 20-acre parcel next to the facility is no longer going to let the city or Cowboys use it, according to a story in the Ventura County Star. That will result in smaller concessions and changing the bleacher setup where fans watch practices.
“This is going to be nicer venue, with nice green grass,” Ventura interim assistant city manager Scott Whitney told the newspaper.
The Cowboys have yet to comment on the matter.
Drew Davison, 817-390-7760