The incredibly competitive, dog-eat-dog world of professional football is a “what have you done for me lately” world and Jay Ratliff has done nothing but cost the Dallas Cowboys money and cause strife since November of last year.
Ratliff was once the undersized, over-achieving nose tackle who complemented the world-class pass rushing of DeMarcus Ware. In his first six years with the Cowboys, Ratliff recorded 25 sacks and was named to four Pro Bowls. Then, he signed a five-year, $48 million deal going into the 2011 season and has recorded but two sacks since.
All of that undersized over-achievement may have taken a physical and mental toll on Ratliff. Not only did his play decline after signing the big deal with the Cowboys, he became injury prone. He began this season on the PUP list and would have just been allowed back in the lineup this coming weekend, had Jones not cut him.
Besides the decline in play and the injury bug, Ratliff also had a “volcanic” argument with owner Jones in the locker room last December, according to Yahoo Sports:
Several reports coming out of the Dallas camp indicate that after the Cowboys’ win over Philadelphia last Sunday, team owner Jerry Jones and nose tackle Jay Ratliff got into a verbal confrontation so severe that team personnel had to separate the two. Jones, who has a habit of talking to players in the locker room after games to offer encouragement or prodding, apparently walked up to the oft-injured Ratliff and said just three words: “We need you.”
Ratliff then got to his feet and an argument ensued. Credit Jones; the 70-year-old didn’t back down from the 6-foot-4, 300-pound lineman (though the fact that Jones signs Ratliff’s checks might have had something to do with it). Team officials had to separate what one individual called a “volcanic” confrontation.
In January, Ratliff further tarnished his reputation and standing with the club when he was charged with driving while intoxicated. That misstep was horribly timed due to the mess with Josh Brent, whose drunken driving cost teammate Jerry Brown his life.
The decision to cut the 32-year-old Ratliff may be about ending the when will he play drama. It may be about getting rid of an investment that is yielding diminishing returns. But, if you are thinking the Cowboys just cleared up a ton of cap space for next year, think again, according to NBC Sports:
In 2011, Ratliff signed a five-year, $48.6 million contract extension. According to the Cowboys’ website, the majority of his $10.268 million cap charge will roll over into next year.
With Ratliff officially out of the picture, Anthony Spencer on Injured Reserve, and DeMarcus Ware nursing what is becoming a chronic quad problem, the Cowboys are paper-thin on the defensive line.