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By Jonathan Bales

Is Orlando Scandrick Worth $27 Million?

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Jonathan Bales

The Cowboys recently signed cornerback Orlando Scandrick to a five-year, $27 million deal with $10 million in guaranteed money.  The extension comes as a bit of a surprise considering Scandrick is a nickel cornerback who had what most consider an average 2010 season.  While I agree that Scandrick did not necessarily deserve $27 million, I do think the Cowboys were smart to lock him up long-term.

I provided Scandrick with the highest mark of any cornerback on the team in my 2010 Cornerback Grades.  His 83.4 percent was mostly the result of very solid play down the stretch of the season.  Scandrick continued to play hard and improve as other players on defense yielded to the disappointment which accompanied the losses.  Here is what I had to say about his play:

Pass Defense:  B

Scandrick began the season poorly, but his play really picked up over the final 10 weeks or so.  His Pass Defense Rating is the worst of any cornerback, but that’s really due to the nature of his position.  He’s on the field during passing situations, meaning the rate of passes he is targeted will naturally be higher.  The 0.88 yards-per-snap that he surrendered was down from 0.95 in 2009.

Run Defense: C+

Scandrick tallied 11 less tackles last season as compared to ’09, but part of the reason for that is that he gave up fewer receptions.  His 11.4 percent missed tackle rate is neither stellar nor horrendous, although it could certainly improve.

In hindsight, I actually think I should have given Scandrick a higher grade.  It is sometimes difficult to properly assess the play of cornerbacks because their success or failure is so heavily linked to the pass rush.  Although it seems minute, the difference between being asked to consistently cover a receiver for three seconds as compared to 3.5 seconds is actually rather monumental.  I think Scandrick’s solid coverage in 2010 went largely overlooked (even by me, I admit) because of the lack of a formidable pass rush.  There’s a reason I ranked him as one of the Cowboys’ 10 best draft picks since 2000.

Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan obviously agrees, as he undoubtedly signed off on Scandrick’s extension.  Ryan likely sees a player with top-notch speed who is asked to play arguably the most difficult position on defense (slot cornerback), as well as one who possesses a trait I didn’t give enough attention in my cornerback grades–the ability to blitz from the slot.  Ryan often calls for blitzes from the secondary in his unique 3-4 defense, and many people forget Scandrick was (sadly) one of the Cowboys’ top blitzers in 2010.  With Ryan in town, I think you’ll see an improvement in all facets of Scandrick’s game (due mostly to an increase in pressure).

Scandrick’s value to the Cowboys seems apparent, but was he worth $27 million?  That is starting cornerback money, and while Terence Newman is probably set to play his last season in Dallas, third cornerbacks don’t typically see that sort of payday.  To me, that is evidence that Ryan & Co. see Scandrick as a starter opposite Mike Jenkins by 2012–and possibly sooner.

Nonetheless, there is no reason to pay a player more than market value for his services.  This shows me the organization believes Scandrick is primed for a breakout 2011 campaign and decided signing him now–even if it meant “overpaying” at the time–is superior to waiting for him to cash in on the free agent market.  From that standpoint, I agree with the decision.

Of course, contracts aren’t always what they appear.  Receiving $10 million guaranteed isn’t a gigantic amount on a five-year deal, so it isn’t like the team is “stuck” with O-Scan (I can call him that because we’re pretty good friends.  Never met, but I Facebook message him pretty regularly. . .it’s whatever).  Plus, we don’t know how much of that $27 million is “potential” money linked to performance-based bonuses.  In reality, this might be a steal for Dallas.

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11 Responses to Is Orlando Scandrick Worth $27 Million?

  1. chris stallcup says:

    Personally I think he’s one of the best slot corners in the league. He’s always in position but never turns his head around in time. So really I think the cowboys made a deal, much like what they did with ratliff.

  2. James Knight says:

    I also think Scandrick is a Good Slot Corner. But I also think Jerry has once again over paid a player.

  3. john coleman says:

    Is he worth it? According to the pay, he must be.

    This is the classic feast or famine. If he continues to improve and ends up outside and makes some plays, then it is genius. If not, it is Roy.

    I don’t see him being any worse than Newman. IMO Newman has had one or two good season in his whole time here. I am soooo… tired of seeing the number on his back while he is chasing someone who has burnt him. Throw in the fact that he is constantly injured and good ridance.

    In fairness to all- In my lifetime I have seen three lockdown CB’s, Prime, Revis, and Nnamdi. Nnamdi is a notch below Revis, and Revis a notch or two below Prime. For my money, concerning cover CB’s, Prime is easily the best of all time. Others like Mel Blount we great CB’s, because of mugging techniques.

  4. Vince_Grey says:

    IMO, all these NFL contracts are really “worth” is the guaranteed money, which in this case is 10 million. Bet you the vast majority of that other 17 mil is max backloaded into the final year or two. By that time, 3-4 years from now, that sum might well be the going rate for a decent backup corner, much less a quality starter who might be a Pro Bowler by that time.

    Young, talented kid who plays a super tough position and has blitzing ability as well. I see nothing bad with this deal at all.

    Better this than signing some 30 year old to a deal with 25 mil guaranteed.

    As for “lockdown” corners, Mike Haynes of the Pats/Raiders was pretty darn great in his day. Best I ever saw until Deion came along.

  5. JJ says:

    I thought Scandrick played about as well as Wade coached in 2010. Yet, when Garrett came in as interim, Scandrick’s game picked up and Garrett did a fine job of mentioning his value (speed, quickness, love of the game, long arms, attitude, etc.).

    I certainly can see a combo of Scandrick and Jenkins as early as this year with Newman being the 3rd corner in 2011 with a high pick next year replacing Newman.

    I’m sure that Nnamdi is good but I just don’t think he’s significantly better than current era players like Champ Bailey or Charles Woodson over a career period and even “Prime Time” Era players like Rod Woodson.

  6. Tyrone Jenkins says:

    VG hit it on the head – guys are only worth their guaranteed $. And, Scandrick is worth $10 million since he’s not really susceptible to being cut in the next 2 years (unless something catastrophic happens).

    Apparently the Boys are viewing him as the heir to Newman’s position and with good reason. Scandrick is a fairly decent and outside of a horrific game vs. the Giants 2 years ago, was seriously competing w/ Jenkins for the starting corner job opposite Newman. He’s learning a new system and will be more familiar than any free agent or drafted CB the Boys might acquire in the next few years. Also, he’s probably gonna get better or at least “appear” so w/ better defensive line play.

    If Scandrick can play almost as well as Newman, he’s an absolute BARGAIN in 2017 years when he’s well entrenched in the defensive system and earning about $6 million (and other starting CBs are getting $10-14).

  7. Rick says:

    You don’t pay a #3 corner that much money. Period. End of discussion. If he proves himself as a starter in Ryan’s scheme, then we can have this discussion again. For now, no, I don’t think he’s worth that much.

  8. Vince_Grey says:

    Well, I predicted in another post that Garrett would likely pull a “Jimmy” and whack someone considered to be “safe”.

    Turns out that was Andre Gurode.

    Personally, I’ve been on record for years saying that Andre was no great center and that him being voted to the Pro Bowl was a sad joke, but still, this was indeed a shocker.

    Boy, I’m liking this Garrett guy more and more. If he didn’t have it before, I bet little Opie Cunningham’s got the player’s attention now. Heh heh…

    Question is, who’s next?

    Igor? (No question)

    Brooking? (Very possible)

    Bradie? (Unlikely)

    Newman? (Unlikely)

    Witten? (Just kidding.)

    Anyone else?

  9. JJ says:

    any new posts since viking game?

  10. JJ says:

    I few other thoughts as I couldn’t sleep and watched the Vikings game again. I sure hope Spencer picks it up. He was sealed off several times in the run game and this is supposed to be his strength. Speaking of this, I sure hope Coleman steps up as the DLine is not causing anyone to feel invigorated.

    I really like Sean Lee but it appears he just can’t escape the initial contact.

    “Unprovens” that i’m feeling good about: young OL, Mario Butler, Tanner, DeMarco

    Not ready to drink Kool-Aid yet: McCann, Ball, Holley, Lee, Sensbaugh, Ogletree, McCray

    Where did they go?: Harris, Phillips, Church

    Wave goodbye: Braden Williams, Igor, AOA, Sam Young

  11. Pingback: Should Andre Gurode Have Been Released? | Dallas Cowboys Times

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