The Cowboys gave four offers to restricted free agents yesterday. Three of them make perfect sense, but the last one has me wondering what they are thinking. Each player received an offer of $1.545 million which guarantees the Cowboys a second round draft pick and the right of first refusal if they are able to negotiate a deal with another team. Here is a quick player-by-player analysis.
Miles Austin - This was a no brainer. Miles is the only speed receiver on the roster and he showed flashes of talent last year that were tantalizing. He will be the #3 or #4 receiver next season without a doubt. And there is a chance that Miami might try to sign him to a deal anyway so the Cowboys will at least get a second round draft pick in return if they choose not to match the offer.
Sam Hurd - A lot of people are forgetting the Sam was developing into a solid option for Romo prior to last season. He missed nearly the entire season with an ankle injury, but he looks to be a decent player for years to come. Don't forget that there is no official word on T.O., so the Cowboys need to retain depth at the wide receiver position in case they make the decision to part ways with T.O.
Steven Bowen - Another no brainer. With Canty looking for big money in free agency it is looking highly unlikely that he will be back for the Cowboys next season. Locking up Bowen allows the Cowboys to set up a training camp battle between Bowen and Hatcher for the starting position. Training camp battles are always good in my eyes because it ratchets up the intensity and makes guys work harder.
Cory Proctor - This is the move I just don't get. Proctor was absolutely terrible last season. I really thought the Cowboys would let him go. The only justification I can see is that they still view him as a viable option at backup center. He was overpowered countless times last season, but maybe the coaches feel he would fare better at center where he could be involved in more double teams and linebacker blocking. I don't see anything worth keeping in Proctor.
For those of you who believe we are overpaying for Austin, Bowen or Hurd keep in mind that $1.545 million amounts to just over 1% of the $127 million salary cap now that the cap was increased by about $4 million yesterday. 1% seems pretty fair for players you would expect to be regular contributers in 2009.