What A Top FA Corner Is Commanding

IRVING, Texas -- We cast a wide net with our daily Free Agency Watch series, spotlighting the best players at positions of need for the Cowboys, and one of our 2012 entries is Titans cornerback Cortland Finnegan.

He's productive, he's experienced, he's physical -- physical to the point of being labeled dirty by some, much like Rodney Harrison was during his career.

Sounds good for a team with a pair of backup free agents (Alan Ball, Frank Walker) and a veteran starter (Terence Newman) who might not be back, right?

Well, The Tennessean reports that Finnegan and Tennessee aren't making any progress on a new contract. The reason? He already declined a four-year, $28 million deal last offseason and is looking for something similar to Johnathan Joseph's contract with Houston (five years, $48.75 million, $23.5 million guaranteed).

That's what a top free agent corner is going to command this spring. You can bet Brent Grimes, Brandon Carr and Carlos Rogers won't be asking for much less.

Stanford Routt, a former Rob Ryan guy, signed for three years and only $20 million with Kansas City. The Cowboys never got in a bidding war there, but that could have been as much about their evaluation of Routt than the money involved.

Cornerback depth is a need for the Cowboys, and recent estimations are they could have somewhere in the $20 million range to spend. Guard and outside linebacker (whether it's Anthony Spencer or his replacement) are also potential targets.

But it's hard for me to envision them spending Finnegan-type money when they paid Orlando Scandrick like a starter last August. They did that in part because No. 3 corners are important in a pass-heavy league, but they also valued Scandrick's upside as possibly a future starter.

There will be new faces in the secondary, as Jerry Jones said last month. At what price remains to be seen.

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