It was pointed out to me in my 2012 Offseason Fanpost that a CB I had Dallas acquiring in Free Agency (William Middleton) was actually a restricted free agent and almost definitely not available. I lamented; Woe unto my offseason plans. Where was I when Middleton was restricted?
So I have to move on. Scouring through the FA CB's I'm either not that inspired or very concerned about price. This is problematic because we seriously could use a veteran upgrade at CB. There's one guy though who we've discussed here who just may be a good fit. Stanford Routt. I initially wasn't fond of the Routt idea as his overall Pro Football Focus rankings were fairly underwhelming and his penalties were off the charts. With hope in hand I decided to take more detailed look anyway.
2008 – 33rd ranked in Coverage, 2 penalties. This was his last year with Rob Ryan. A solid season. Notice that there's only 2 penalties (though he did play less snaps in 2008  than 2010 & 2011 [1009 & 1133]).
Now let's look at his last two years;
2010 – 34th ranked in Coverage, 11 penalties.
2011 – 19th ranked in Coverage, 17 penalties.
He's been solid in coverage (in fact you'd say he was pretty darn good last year) but what stands out is the insane penalties. That's just crazy. Oakland is notorious for routinely being the most penalized team in the league and Routt played to type. If not for the penalties this guy is a very solid player. So the question is, can Rob Ryan get this guy to cut out the penalties? I think 2008, where Routt only had 2 penalties under Rob Ryan suggests that he can. If that's possible, then Routt's best days could still be in front of him and he'd be a good signing.
Now although those Coverage rankings the last 2 years may not sound very impressive consider this; the rank of 34 and 19 is vastly superior to the ranks of Newman (93, 97), Jenkins (83, 63) and Scandrick (68, 80) over the same period of time.
So Routt may not be the best CB in the league but if we signed him he does instantly become the best CB on our team.
Some other notes on Stanford Routt:
- The guy has very good size at 6'1" 195 pounds. Helpful against Nicks.
- Routt's a genuine speedster. He ran a 4.27 forty. That's crazy fast.
- Routt is used to and suited for playing the man coverage scheme Rob uses.
- Routt's Wonderlic of 23 is above the league average for his position (18). Nobody would accuse our secondary of being smart so adding a smart vet can only be a plus.
- This interview with Routt really is an excellent one. I wish more journalists who interviewed players could be this focused on the personal field and team performance and prepared with relevant, intelligent information and questions. Routt's obviously a serious student of the game. His intelligence and professionalism shines through in this interview when he's asked about his best game of the season and then "Stanford proceeds to walk through every game and detail every catch he gave up including the player, route, etc. for all over the course of the season in each game". Impressive.
- Another interesting note in the Routt interview: "in 2010 you led the league in penalties among corners with 12, while Asomugha and Chris Johnson each had eight". Routt had a lot of penalties but his teammates Aso and Johnson also did too. That is an enormous amount of penalties as a group. This suggests to me that Oakland was coaching these guys to be very, very, aggressive with little regard for penalties. Is that more evidence that back under Ryan's direction he could reduce the penalties again?
- Routt may also not be as expensive as he may first appear. He won't trump the top 5 players (Webb, Carr, Finnegan, Rogers, Grimes) already on top of the CB Free Agent list. His penalties and age aren't as appealing as some of those other guys. He's been available to be signed for a few days now and although he's had interest there's no bidding war erupting. A 4 or 5 year $25 million deal could be in the cards. That would be affordable for Dallas. Rob said he wants DB's, DB's, DB's and Routt knows Rob's schemes.
Some extra CB Comparison:
2010 Coverage rank, Completion percentage against CB, overall rank in NFL, QB rating against CB, overall rank in NFL:
Routt – 34th – 42.4% : 2nd – 68.9 / 13th
Scandrick – 68th – 68.8% : 86th – 113.0 / 92nd
Jenkins – 83rd – 67.4% : 83rd – 122.6 / 97th
Newman – 93rd – 65.3% : 70th – 91.1 / 58th
2011 Coverage rank, Completion percentage against CB, overall rank in NFL, QB rating against CB, overall rank in NFL:
Routt – 19th – 51.1% : 14th – 82.4 / 50th
Jenkins – 63rd – 51.9% : 20th – 88.5 / 64th
Scandrick – 80th – 69.4% : 96th – 100.2 / 82nd
Newman – 97th – 62.8% : 73rd – 88.5 / 64th
Once again, Routt may not be the best CB in the league but if we signed him he instantly becomes the best CB on our team I think and a big upgrade.