IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys added another two years to Orlando Scandrick’s contract Friday afternoon.
The cornerback, a fifth-round pick by the Cowboys in 2008, had been playing on a six-year, $28 million contract that expired after the 2016 season. The new extension adds $9 million in guarantees and secures Scandrick’s services through the 2018 season.
In exchange for the guarantees, the deal allows the Cowboys to reduce Scandrick’s compensation and save $4.5 million on the salary cap over the next three seasons.
The extension comes at the tail end of what has been a career year for the veteran. Injuries in the Cowboys secondary, most notably to fellow corner Morris Claiborne, have forced Scandrick into extensive duty at both nickelback and outside cornerback.
His response to the circumstances has been impressive. With 59 tackles through 13 games, he has already bested his career high of 51. His two interceptions on the season are also a career high. He logged one interception in 2009, 2010 and 2011 before going without one last season.
Scandrick is tied with Brandon Carr for the team lead in passes defensed at 14. He is also the lone defensive back on the roster with a sack, which he logged on Rams quarterback Sam Bradford in Week 3.
The extension keeps Scandrick with the Cowboys until 2019, which currently gives him one of the three longest-running contracts on the roster. Tony Romo and Sean Lee are both under contract until 2020.
IRVING, Texas — A day apart in September of 2011, the Dallas Cowboys signed DT Jay Ratliff and TE Jason Witten to five-year contract extensions.
Each player had two years remaining on his deal at the time, but the Cowboys wanted to reward the Pro Bowl performers with new contracts in hopes that they would retire with the club. The Cowboys also received some salary-cap relief in the early part of the contracts even though it cost them up-front cash.
Yesterday, Ratliff was cut by the Dallas Cowboys amid acrimony stemming from a groin injury suffered last season that is still bothering him today. Witten, meanwhile, was on the practice field getting ready for Sunday’s game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
The adage that has been repeated by many lately is you don’t pay age in the NFL. Well, sometimes you can and sometimes you can’t.
Ratliff had just turned 30 when he signed and was entering his seventh season. Witten turned 29 a few months before signing but was entering his ninth season
The Cowboys did not get a return on Ratliff on the most recent extension. He played in only 22 games after signing on Sept. 9, 2011. He recorded only two sacks and seven tackles for loss.
And now he’s gone.
Witten, now 31, has not missed a game, playing through a lacerated spleen early last season, and has 220 catches for 2,321 yards and 11 touchdowns since the extension. Last year, he set an NFL record for catches in a season by a tight end with 110 and played in his eighth Pro Bowl.
And still he plays on.
IRVING, Texas – Sean Lee has been a lock at inside linebacker for three years with the Dallas Cowboys. Tonight, the team locked him up through the 2019 season.
The Cowboys inked Lee, who is set to begin his fourth NFL campaign next month, to a six-year contract extension worth roughly $42 million, but could escalate as high as $51 million depending on play-time incentives.
Lee reportedly will get more than $16 million guaranteed over the life of the contract.
Lee had one year remaining on the original four-year contract he signed as the No. 55 overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. In three seasons, he has started 21 games, including just six last year when toe surgery cut his season short.
Injuries were taken into consideration in negotiating the deal, which has a few play-time incentives to protect the Cowboys in case Lee misses more time due to injury.
Lee is the Cowboys’ middle linebacker and centerpiece of the 4-3 scheme under new coordinator Monte Kiffin.
“When we look at things we need to do, short and long term, his agreement is on that list,” Jones said earlier this month. “Those things have to fit and we certainly, in terms of planning and management of our cap dollars and our future, we’re planning on having him on the team.
“He’d be at the top of the list. Yeah, I’d say he’d be at the top.”
The two sides had discussions this off-season. Lee was in the final year of a contract that pays him $630,000. He counts about $930,000 against the salary cap.
The club had about $10 million in cap room, meaning the extension with Lee will move more money into this season and ease the cap hit somewhat moving forward.
“Next year is going to be a tight year for us with the cap,” Jones said. “We’ve got to really be pretty resourceful.”
IRVING, Texas – Barry Church is in the early parts of a comeback from Achilles’ tendon surgery, but the Dallas Cowboys safety has some peace of mind.
Last week the Cowboys signed Church to a four-year extension worth close to $9 million and an opportunity to add another $3 million through play-time escalators. He received a $2.5 million signing bonus.
“I’m glad they have a lot of faith in me,” Church said. “I was shocked a little bit. I thought I was going to have to come back from rehab and don’t have a deal or don’t have any security going into camp next year. They’re showing faith in me and I’m going to try to make it worth every penny for them.”
Church, who suffered the injury Sept. 23 vs. Tampa Bay on a non-contact play, said he will have the cast removed on Monday, “and then I can begin the real rehab.” He said he plans on being 100 percent by the time the offseason conditioning program begins next April.
He won the starting safety spot in the first week of training camp, allowing the team to cut veteran Brodney Pool, and had eight tackles, two pass breakups and a fumble recovery.
“He played really well and again is the kind of guy we want on our team,” coach Jason Garrett said.
Church will use former Cowboys cornerback Kevin Smith and current Cincinnati cornerback Leon Hall as inspirations in his rehab.
“Leon Hall did his last November and he was back in training camp and starting with the Bengals now,” Church said. “It’s not the same position but there’s a lot more running, but if he can do it I can do it too.”
IRVING, Texas – The Cowboys have reached a three-year extension with defensive end Sean Lissemore.
Lissemore’s deal has $3.1 million guaranteed and includes a $2 million signing bonus.
"The Cowboys like him and Sean likes being there," Lissemore’s agent Wes Bridges said. "Quite frankly, Sean had a decision to make and see if he wanted to wait it out and go to next year, but he didn’t want it to be a distraction and wanted to just play ball. He wanted to get a deal done and get it done this year."
Sean Lissemore has yet to start a game in his NFL career. Obviously, the Cowboys are figuring he will at some point.
Lissemore has become one of their top substitutes and the coaches view him as a future starter. He was credited with two tackles in the season-opening win at the New York Giants, playing end and nose tackle.
He played in every game last year and had 39 tackles, two sacks, two tackles for loss and five quarterback hurries.
That’s why they are making sure he stays in the fold for a while. Lissemore’s original four-year deal went through the 2013 season, but the Cowboys obviously want him in the mix much longer than that.
Lissemore is currently a backup on the defensive line, but his versatility to play both end and tackle is valuable in the 3-4 scheme.
The Cowboys have some aging veterans on the defensive line in Kenyon Coleman (33), Marcus Spears (29) and Jay Ratliff (31). Lissemore just turned 25 on Tuesday.
Drafted in the seventh round out of William & Mary, Lissemore played in just two games as a rookie before suffering a season-ending ankle injury. But last year, Lissemore played in all 16 games, finishing 12th on the defense with 39 tackles. He had two sacks, equaling Jay Ratliff’s total despite playing about 400 less snaps.
In fact, defensive line coach Brian Baker called Lissemore his most productive player “per snap” in 2011 and said he would get more snaps this season.
And apparently, a few more after this one as well.
With the NFL deadline approaching to place the franchise tag on players, the Cowboys seemed to have pulled an all-nighter and are waiting to the last minute.
Whether or not a decision has been made a while ago, nothing has been official and doesn’t have to be until 3 p.m. (CST) today.
However, word around Valley Ranch is that outside linebacker Anthony Spencer will likely get the franchise tag – an $8.8 million one-year tender that immediately hits the salary cap.
It’s been speculated the Cowboys have about $12.5 million to work with this year, with the ability to restructure a few more contracts to get them in the neighborhood of $20 million. However, franchising Spencer means $8.8 million hits the books right away.
But don’t forget the franchise tag often serves as merely a placeholder for a long-term deal. The Cowboys may or may not want to go that route with Spencer, a first-round pick in 2007 who hasn’t lived up to lofty expectations.
But to lower his price tag and cap charge this year would be beneficial for the Cowboys, assuming both sides can agree on a deal.
Now, just because a franchise tag has been issued doesn’t mean it will be signed right away. In the past, some players have decided not to sign it, with the hope of negotiating a new deal either with the current team or another trying sign him to an offer sheet.
But with free agency looming on March 13, it wouldn’t be in Spencer’s best interest to wait. The Cowboys can always pull back the tender if he hasn’t signed. And if the free-agent signing period hits and the Cowboys find a better situation, they might change their minds with Spencer.
So if a franchise tag is placed on Spencer today, don’t be surprised if its’ signed soon.
Safety Gerald Sensabaugh didn’t get the security of a long-term contract extension he was seeking the past two years from the Dallas Cowboys.
After spending four years with the Jaguars, Sensabaugh signed a one year deal with the Cowboys in 2009 hoping to earn bigger a deal with his play
Instead he has had to settle for one-year deals in 2010 and then again before this season.
Although frustrated with the process, Sensabaugh has stayed patient and continued to go to work.
Now in the midst of one of the best seasons of his career, Sensabaugh has been rewarded with a five-year, $22.5 contract extension, including eight million in guaranteed money.
The team announced the signing Friday afternoon.
Sensabaugh wouldn’t go into details about the negotiations in the locker-room on Friday but expressed optimism about getting a deal done giving him security for himself and his family.
Earlier in the day, vice president Stephen Jones was cryptic and telling when asked about the team’s interest in getting an extension for Sensabaugh.
“You never know,” a smile Jones said. “It could be done.”
Sensabaugh is the Cowboys second leading tackler in 2011 with 63 stops. He also has two interceptions, four pass deflections and two forced fumbles.
The Cowboys locked Gerald Sensabaugh up for the next five years, and Rob Phillips is in the studio to explain why.
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