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Mailbag: RB Production & Contract Regrets?


Are you concerned that with the release of Gurley and the low production of Le'veon Bell last season the front office will end up regretting the Zeke deal? Especially after the contract conundrums we faced this year? David Jones / Ashburn, VA

Jonny: You can't really flip your opinion on Zeke's contract based on what's going on elsewhere. If he stays healthy, continues to be one of the more dangerous offensive players in football, and the front office is able to find good value at other positions, then the contract will be worth it. One of those things might not turn in the Cowboys' favor, but that has been the understood risk since he signed his extension---or, you could argue, since they drafted him with the fourth overall pick.

Rob: Not really. We can debate how much to pay running backs long term and all that, but the Cowboys had to get him signed to try to compete for a championship last year and he's still arguably the best player on the team. It's a lot of money, but it's not cap-crushing money - right at about market value for the top backs in the league. And he has been a more durable player than Gurley.

Seems like a new contract for Jeff Heath would've been affordable, what do you think was the main reason they let him go? Mark Anderson / Elizabeth City, NC

Jonny: Well, this is related to the Zeke question above...and the Dak situation...and the Amari contract. When you pay star players big money, it has to come from somewhere. Heath's abilities are respected in Frisco, so letting him walk was not a dismissal of him as a player. McCarthy knows where he has to make a little bit of money go a long way, which is no easy task, so he's going to do it with the players he feels most comfortable can excel in his system.

Rob: Heath took an opportunity to potentially start next to Johnathan Abram in Vegas. With Ha Ha Clinton-Dix (a former Packers starter under Mike McCarthy) now on the Cowboys' roster, I'm not sure that would've been the case for Heath anymore. I do think they'll miss his leadership, and his work on special teams was underrated. That's a big hole to fill.

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