After the Cowboys wrapped up Day 3 of the NFL Draft last month, Jerry Jones didn't spend a whole lot of time talking about Caleb McSurdy or Danny Coale or any of those guys.
Instead, he bragged about an undrafted free agent, guard Ronald Leary of Memphis, who fell out of the draft because of long-term concerns over his knee. Now we know why the Cowboys' owner/GM had so many good things to say about Leary.
He's already guaranteed over half of Leary's salary for the 2012 season.
Credit to Mac's Football Blog and Bob Sturm of 1310-AM in Dallas for digging up the numbers first. Leary received only a $9,000 signing bonus, second most of the Cowboys undrafted free agents, behind Tarleton State wide receiver Saalim Hakim. Teams are now limited in how much money they can give to undrafted players.
However, the club went a step further and guaranteed $205,000 of Leary's 2012 base salary. So, even if he turns out to not be good enough to make the team or his knee gives out on him in camp, he'll still take home that $205,000.
The base salary for rookies in 2012 is $390,000.
While that guarantee obviously pales in comparison to the guarantees for many veterans on the team, it's an indication that the Cowboys believe Leary is not only going to make the team, based on what they saw of him at Memphis, but he might even have a chance to start.
With veteran Mackenzy Bernadeau out until training camp or later, Leary's chances have only gone up.
So, barring a problem the Cowboys clearly don't envision, it appears Leary will be a part of the 2012 team.