(Editor's Note: Throughout the off-season, DallasCowboys.com staff writers will take a closer look at the roster, analyzing players' impact last season and how each fits into the team's 2015 plans. Today's Roster Rundown entry features guard Mackenzy Bernadeau.)
Name: Mackenzy Bernadeau
Height/Weight: 6-4 / 325
Experience: 7 seasons
Key stat:The stat that helps Bernadeau isn't one that changed in 2014. But the fact he has 28 career starts makes him a valuable asset even as a backup. Plus, being able to play both guard and center makes him a game-day backup to three positions.
Contract Status:Signed through 2015.
2014 Impact: Mackenzy Bernadeau didn't get the opportunity to play as many offensive snaps as he did in 2013. That season, Bernadeau made 11 starts and his overall level of play was high. This past season he was able to fill in for Ronald Leary late in the first Washington game, then turn around and make the start against the Cardinals the following week when Leary was unable to answer the bell due to a groin injury. There were some rough plays in the game for Bernadeau, who struggled to control the Cardinals' talented defensive end, Calais Campbell, and linebacker Larry Foote -- but you can also find fault with his teammates as well, where the Cardinals front seven were able to keep DeMarco Murray and this Cowboys offense in check. Putting all that aside, there is value in what Mackenzy Bernadeau brings to this team from a flexibility standpoint and that is important considering how, at various points in the season, Jason Garrett and this staff were having to shuffle personnel around -- especially on defense -- for their game day roster. There are not many guards in this league that can also line up and play center and also hold his own while doing it.
Where He Fits: With what we have seen from Zack Martin and Ronald Leary, it is very clear that those two will most likely be the starters going into the 2015 season -- so that once again leaves Mackenzy Bernadeau in the mix for that role as a backup swing guard and center filling in as he has done the past two seasons. What will be interesting going forward now is that if this front office decides that, for what they have in Bernadeau, do they try and upgrade the position even further? They could add a younger and potentially cheaper veteran or go the draft route by using a pick to get a player that they could develop in the future -- to not only be that swing guy but take Leary's spot in the future. For right now, Mackenzy Bernadeau has a spot on this roster. As I have pointed out, keep an eye on this front office and what options they might consider there.
Nick Eatman: Just like any insurance policy, you find out how important it is once you really need it. In 2014, the Cowboys didn't need it that much considering Zack Martin played every game, Ron Leary missed just one and Travis Frederick took all the reps at center. In the one game, Bernadeau started last year, he not only faced one of the best defenses in the NFL in Arizona, but the Cowboys were without Tony Romo, which likely played a much bigger role in the team's 28-17 loss. Overall, Bernadeau is valuable because he is a three-player backup, but with a $2.8 million cap charge in 2015, he might be a luxury the Cowboys simply can't afford – especially at that price.