Top 3 Bargain Players on the Dallas Cowboys

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Sep 22, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys tackle Doug Free (68) guard Mackenzy Bernadeau (73) center Travis Frederick (72) guard Ronald Leary (65) and tackle Tyron Smith (77) in the huddle during the game against the St. Louis Rams at AT&T Stadium. The Dallas Cowboys beat the St. Louis Rams 31-7.Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

Sep 22, 2013; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys tackle Doug Free (68) guard Mackenzy Bernadeau (73) center Travis Frederick (72) guard Ronald Leary (65) and tackle Tyron Smith (77) in the huddle during the game against the St. Louis Rams at AT&T Stadium. The Dallas Cowboys beat the St. Louis Rams 31-7.Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

The sad reality is the Dallas Cowboys are infamous for giving out bad contracts. Whether the contract is above market value, the player is injury-prone, or the player is on the downslope of his career, the Cowboys have a pretty poor track record.

But instead of focusing on the bad contracts let’s take a moment to recognize the good contracts. First the criteria…

All rookie deals are financially favorable to the team, so obviously low-cost and high-producing players like Dez Bryant, Travis Frederick, and Tyron Smith (just to name a few) are the best values on the Cowboys. Therefore for this list we will just look at players who are playing under their second or third contracts. We begin with Honorable Mention.

Honorable Mention

Oct 28, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) celebrates a touchdown with tackle Doug Free (68) in the third quarter against the New York Giants at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Doug Free

2014 Cap Figure: $3.5M

Doug Free is technically playing under a 2 year/ $7M contract in 2014. Last season he bounced back and ranked as one of the better right tackles in the NFL. At a modest $3.5M per season in 2013 and 2014, he certainly qualifies as a top value/bargain player. But the sins of yesterday cannot be ignored…

Flashback: In 2010 the Cowboys signed Free to a 4 year / $32M extension that guaranteed $17M. Subsequently his performance fell off the figurative cliff the next 2 years prompting a Cowboys ultimatum and a significant pay-cut.

At $3.5M Doug Free’s performance now exceeds his pay and warrants mention. But after being overpaid for 2 years prior, his total cost and total performance with the Cowboys are finally just breaking even.

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Tags: Barry Church Dallas Cowboys Doug Free Featured Henry Melton Orlando Scandrick Popular

  • David

    Come on Reid. Barry Church really???? The guy has like one pick in two years. He is poor in coverage and lacks good range to help corners in cover two and three. I guess maybe because he only makes 2 million you could maybe have a case. But I still have a hard time with that one.

  • AJ

    How about Dez? He’s making like, what? 1.78 million this year?