Glover On My Mind

and even lined up some for the first time with the Cowboys at defensive end, if you can imagine that. Now his numbers were down since he did end up sharing time with Ferguson, finishing with only 26 tackles and three sacks - his fewest in each category since playing only two games his rookie year. 

Still, someone valued his talent. Glover was selected to his sixth consecutive Pro Bowl. 

But the Cowboys made a business decision before the start of free agency. They decided Glover, in the final year of his five-year deal, was expendable since they would owe him a $1.5 million roster bonus, along with his $4.5 million base salary. The Cowboys also decided that it would be unlikely to re-sign him to another contract next summer at age 33. 

So for $1.2 million - the final installment of his prorated signing bonus - they got on with the future, releasing the valued veteran. 

"A cap thing . . . a cap thing," Jones said of the team's reason for parting ways with Glover, who in the bat of an eye signed a three-year, $12 million with St. Louis that included $3.5 million in bonuses. "Plus, I had a sense his value was such that I had an obligation (to let him test free agency). 

"But what we did in the draft and some of the young players we've got, makes it a sound decision for us." 

Jones knows he paid an $8 million signing bonus to Ferguson last year to play nose tackle, and we know Bill Parcells' aversion to under-sized defensive linemen and linebackers. Plus, the Cowboys are counting on last year's rookie free agent Thomas Johnson to give them some nose support, along with Stanley, selected in the sixth round. 

And when it comes to playing a four-man front in the nickel, there seems to be a few defensive end alternatives to move inside, such as Chris Canty and Marcus Spears, something both did at times last year in pass-rushing situations. And also keep an eye on Hatcher, another possible inside pass rusher. Who knows, maybe even Jay Ratliff, too. 

And while all that may seem fine and good - especially for the future - you can add all those guys' sacks together (five) and they don't amount to even a fourth of Glover's four-year total with the Cowboys (21½). 

Sorry, just makes me a tad queasy, even if all the reasons for moving forward make sense. Glover has been that good, and a darn good soldier making do playing out of position this past season. 

And even after qualifying his release, basically a good business decision since rarely do you find a player not throwing the football or running with the football charging $7.2 million against the salary cap, Jones concluded with "But we'll miss La'Roi Glover." 

Which bothers me.   

MICK SHOTS

       
  Maybe this had something to do with the Cowboys using a fourth-round draft choice on kick-returner Skyler Green. The Cowboys averaged only 6.3 yards per return in 2005, and that's their lowest figure since creeping along at a 5.5-yard rate in 1986 and the only time since they've averaged less than seven yards a return other than the back-to-back 6.4's recorded in 1989-90. 
  Also, noticed this: Patrick Cayton's 7.2 average led the Cowboys' punt returners in 2005, but that was the lowest average to lead the club since Derrick Shepard's 6.1 in 1990. 
  And speaking of punting, the Jacksonville Jaguars just signed former Cowboys punter Toby Gowin. The only other punter on the Jaguars' roster is Chris Hanson, who averaged 42.9 last year, but ranked 12th last year in the AFC with a 36.9 net. 
                                                             

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