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Ellis: It's About Where Scandrick's Going

ARLINGTON, Texas -Some people will disagree with the five-year, $25 million extension the Cowboys gave to Orlando Scandrick. He probably hasn't been a $5 million per year player in his first three seasons, and who knows if he will be in the future?

But just keep in mind that the Cowboys didn't sign the Scandrick of the last three seasons. They signed the Scandrick of the years to come. Why not believe in the future of a guy who surprised everyone by becoming a regular contributor as a 21-year old rookie in 2008, and has played a pretty good slot corner most of his time here?

Secondary coach Dave Campo said Scandrick is one of the best slot corners in the league - not just his opinion, a consensus opinion. He may give up a play here or there, as he did Sunday against Vincent Jackson, but it's tough to be perfect in that spot, easily the toughest a cornerback can play.

Because Scandrick is very athletic, smart, motivated and still only 24 years old, there's reason to believe this will be a good signing for the Cowboys. He's a totally different player now than he was when he got to the team.

"Experience. Experience," Campo said. "The first time he had the opportunity to play both outside and inside, he struggled because it was new for him. There were a lot of things going on between the two positions. I think he's demonstrated during this camp to me, and some last year, that he can do both.

"He loves football. All he does is talk football all the time, always asking questions, always wants to know what's going on, always wants to be ahead of everybody else as far as knowing what's happening, what's happening next? What's the next thing I can master?"

Will Scandrick be a great player in the future? Maybe, maybe not. But in the grand scheme of things in today's NFL, $5 million per year is not outlandish for a starting cornerback. He'll be just that before too long.

And think about the NFL of tomorrow. The league will negotiate a new television contract in 2013, and the salary cap should rise dramatically. Even if Scandrick doesn't become a Pro Bowler in the next few years, there's a chance we look back on this as a pretty team-friendly deal.

Comparing it to Jay Ratliff's one-sided contract would be a huge hyperbole at this point, but just like that deal, signed in 2007, the Cowboys are betting on the come.

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