Reports emerged right around game time yesterday that the Cowboys were sitting five-time Pro Bowler Andre Gurode, ostensibly because the front office was going to ask him to take a pay cut, in what Stephen Jones called a 'business decision'.
There is an argument to be made that the Cowboys were simply being cautious, not wanting to be on the hook for Gurode's 2011 salary if he got injured in the game. But that is kind of a half-baked argument. After all, they could have just as easily held him out of last week's Chargers game (which they didn't) or even practice this week (which they didn't either) until the contract situation was resolved.
Unless it's a disciplinary measure - which Jerry Jones categorically ruled out - this is the type of behavior teams exhibit when they have a player they are shopping and don't want to get hurt at the last moment. The Cowboys were quick last night to deny any rumors of a trade. "A source" told Matt Mosley that the move was all about a pay cut, and Nick Eatman filed a story at 4:10 a.m. in which he also quoted a source saying that the Cowboys had talked to other teams, but none were biting due to Gurode's high salary. But where there's smoke, there usually is fire.
The likeliest scenario is that the Cowboys already have a potential suitor for a trade lined up, and need to hit a certain salary structure for the trade to go through. Sitting Gurode at such short notice suggests a trade, and all the talk about pay cuts and restructuring is probably nothing more than a smoke screen.
So don't be surprised if the 'business decision' turns out to be more than a simple pay cut, and Gurode wears a different uniform next year. The only question is, how much can the Cowboys get for a five-time Pro Bowler and two-time All Pro?