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Eatman: Bernadeau Plenty Good Enough When He's Healthy
OXNARD, Calif. – Tuesday night was one of the wild nights at training camp. Names such as Brian Waters and then Brandon Moore kept surfacing.
Some people said the Cowboys wanted Waters. Many then said it was Moore. Some said the Cowboys were interested in both and trying to play the two off each other and get the best deal.
Where we stand on Wednesday is none of them are here. And the Cowboys will practice with Ron Leary and Mackenzy Bernadeau again at the guards.
So now what? Are the Cowboys going to turn the attention to Waters? Well, when the question was asked to Jason Garrett, the head coach didn’t deny the interest, and admitted the team has at least inquired about the 36-year-old veteran.
It does appear Moore has officially made up his mind and will stay retired, turning down a chance to reunite with coach Bill Callahan.
Personally, I think the Cowboys are just fine with Bernadeau at right guard. I know people think that’s a crazy thought but when this guy is healthy, he’s pretty good.
Last year, he missed all of the summer and some of training camp with a hip injury. He came back rusty and it took some time into the regular season to get into his rhythm. Once he did, he was the best guard on the team.
Is that saying much? Yes it is because it says Bernadeau is better than Nate Livings. To me, if Ron Leary wins a starting job, then he should beat out Livings, who will count about $2.4 million on the cap whether he’s on the team or not. He’s got a guaranteed base salary and as Jerry Jones said on Tuesday, “it is what it is” with Livings. I took that statement as Livings is going to count the same, so they might as well get the best player on the field.
Moore probably would’ve been better. The jury is out on Waters.
But as long as Bernadeau is healthy, I think he’s the right guy to start. Let’s not forget the Cowboys restructured his deal this offseason to clear some cap space. In doing so, Bernadeau would now be a near-$4 million cap hit if he’s released. Sure, he can be the backup, but only to a guy like Waters or Moore. And don’t forget, those guys will probably warrant somewhere from $2-3 million per season.
I liked what Bernadeau did last year towards the end. He’s tough. He’s strong and he’s versatile, too, showing he can play some center.
Sure, if you get an upgrade at guard, go for it. Bernadeau isn’t making a contract that assures him a starting job. But as long as he’s healthy, I think he’s good enough to get the job done.
Then again, being healthy for him hasn’t always been as easy as it sounds.