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Mailbag: Spending Money On Defense? Sorting Out The RB Situation?

JIM WHATLEYHENDERSON, TX
The Cowboys seem willing to sell the farm to sign offensive players, but are not willing to do the same for defensive players.  How do the contracts match up between offensive players and defensive players?

Bryan:The money they spent this offseason was on two defensive players, Cedric Thornton and Benson Mayowa. If I remember correctly before he took a pay reduction – Brandon Carr was one of the highest paid players regardless of position. I think the front office would spent the money like they've had on offense if the quality of player was there.  

David: I disagree that the Cowboys aren't willing to pay defensive players. Three years ago they signed Sean Lee to a six-year, $42 million extension. Just last fall they gave Tyrone Crawford five years and $45 million. I think the issue is that they just haven't been as good at drafting defensive talent. In the past six years we've seen them nail draft picks on offensive players like Dez Bryant, Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin. The defensive picks haven't fared quite as well – Morris Claiborne and Bruce Carter come to mind. The jury's still out on Randy Gregory, but it's not looking good. And Jaylon Smith was obviously a big gamble. If any of their big defensive picks pan out, I have no doubt they'll be willing to pony up and pay.

MARCUS JONESMEMPHIS, TN
With Alfred Morris and Darius Jackson both having very solid games on Saturday, the backfield looks even more crowded. There is no way that this team keeps five running backs. If Jackson continues to build on his Week 1 preseason game and Dunbar and McFadden are both out, who do you think doesn't make the 53?

Bryan:I think it will be very hard to release Jackson if he is able to do on special teams what Dunbar can do. With Dunbar's injury history I am sure that is in the back of their minds as well. Morris is starting to show more and more that he can do the things that McFadden is able to do in regard to being that complete back – so his job is in the balance as well. I have gone back and forth on this group throughout this camp and I am strongly leaning toward keeping four running backs and no fullback.

David:It's hard to answer this question until we see Dunbar and McFadden get healthy. If they're both healthy and ready to go, then your backfield is far too crowded. But if one or both of them opens the season on the PUP, you've got a little more room to work with. For the time being, though, I'd be very reluctant to cut Darius Jackson, given the talent he has showcased in camp. Personally, I think the Cowboys can make this easier on themselves by not carrying a fullback – but I know the coaches value that position. 

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