Mailbag: 3/12/10 (Brandon Marshall, O.J. Atogwe, Jesse Holley)
Q: Why is there not more talk of the Cowboys signing Brandon Marshall? He received only a first round tender from the Broncos. The Cowboys have a late first-rounder and Denver probably wouldn’t match an offer. Marshall could take over for Roy Williams.
Jimmy D, Grand Rapids, MI
A: Marshall is certainly an incredible athlete and wide receiver, but the move just doesn’t make too much sense. Sure, he could help the team, but at what price? The Cowboys already have players on their own team they need to sign long-term, i.e. Miles Austin.
If Dallas signed Marshall to an offer sheet, they would be on the hook for three huge contracts to players at the same position. That isn’t exactly business-savvy. The uncapped year won’t a ticket to spend unlimited amounts of cash, as the Cowboys have already stated they are implementing their own cap.
Further, despite the opinions of most fans, the Cowboys are not really weak at wide receiver. Austin is a legitimate number one, so our expectations for Williams need to be lessened. Of course you would like to see your $45 million man play to his potential, but with Austin, Jason Witten, and the Cowboys’ running game, people need to realize that Williams’ upside is limited.
Lastly, the front office just spent last offseason ridding itself of players they deemed distractions. We think locker room chemistry is overrated, but apparently the Cowboys’ brass does not. That doesn’t help Marshall’s case.
The only wide receiver that may join the squad is probably a middle-to-late round draft selection who is versatile enough to return kicks and punts.
Q: I have heard Dallas might be interested in signing Rams’ free safety O.J. Atogwe. What are the chances of this happening, and what would the ‘Boys have to give up? Do you think it is a smart move?
Anna Orr, Dallas, TX
A: Unlike a lot of the rumors circulating the internet, there is actually a realistic chance of the Cowboys signing Atogwe. We wouldn’t call it an outstanding chance, but a possibility nonetheless.
Atogwe offers a trait the current Dallas’ safeties do not possess–ball-hawking ability. Atogwe has picked off 15 passes the last three seasons despite playing for a St. Louis team that does not get thrown at a lot.
The issue for the Cowboys will be if they see Atogwe as a significant upgrade over Ken Hamlin. Atogwe should receive a decent size contract, but the Cowboys may want to just invest a high draft pick in a free safety rather than one who is already 28 years old.
The good news for Dallas (which makes a deal more likely) is that they will not have to give up any picks to sign Atogwe. The Rams are able to match any offer sheet Atogwe signs, but if they do not, they do not receive any compensation.
On June 1, however, Atogwe becomes an unrestricted free agent, meaning any team can sign him and St. Louis holds no right to match an offer. It is likely teams will wait until then to offer Atogwe a contract.
Thus, for the Cowboys, the chances of signing Atogwe hinge on the path they take during the draft. If they draft a safety in rounds one or two, Atogwe likely will not be in Dallas. Should they pass on a safety in the early rounds, however, Dallas may just become the favorite to sign the 28 year old ball-hawk.
Still, the Cowboys are in no rush to sign Atogwe. If they do deem Ken Hamlin a liability, chances are they will look to draft a stud rookie safety before giving big money to a veteran.
Q: What are the chances of the “4th and Long” winner Jesse Holley making the Cowboys’ roster?
Daniel Wagnor, Palmdale, CA
A: Very, very slim. Holley isn’t a bad player, but there just is not much room. Despite the notion that wide receiver is a weak link for the Cowboys, it is actually very deep.
The team generally keeps five wide receivers on the 53-man roster. Austin, Williams, Crayton, and Ogletree are all basically locks to make the squad.
The odd man out, if there is one, would be Sam Hurd. If Hurd makes the team again, it will be due to his special teams ability. At a certain point, though, special team players have to step up into a positional role. Hurd may be capable of doing that, but Jerry Jones may decide he wants a player with more upside.
To obtain that upside, the Cowboys also could draft a wide receiver fairly early in the April draft. We don’t see that as likely, but if it does happen, Holley’s shot of making the roster is all but gone. In a nutshell, although we like the guy, he will probably have to hope for an injury.