Bobby Carpenter, first round draft bust for the Dallas Cowboys, whose career highlight play came in the 2011 Detroit Lions game and debacle, is back, but fortunately not with us. He has signed with the New England Patriots. Tim McMahon of ESPN Tweeted: "Impressive longevity for a first round bust", which pretty much sums it up.
I would not have even mentioned that, except for an odd coincidence. Dallas has claimed quarterback Rudy Carpenter, another former Cowboy, off waivers from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. I actually was concerned for a moment when I saw news that "Carpenter is returning to Dallas" and "Bobby Carpenter gets signed" on my search engine at the same time, but it turned out to be OK after all.
If at this moment you are thinking "Rudy who?", you are likely not alone. Actually, I know you are not alone, because that was exactly what I thought. But as it turns out, Rudy Carpenter was signed in 2009, the same year Stephen McGee was drafted, and released after training camp. Once I read that, I vaguely remembered the name. After being released, he was signed to the Dallas practice squad, and then picked up by Tampa Bay later in the season. He has hung around the Bucs since, doing time both on their practice squad and their roster while accumulating no stats whatsoever.
This is not exactly big news - unless you are the aforementioned Mr. McGee. It is starting to look increasingly like the Cowboys intend to part ways with him.
More - but you knew that
With Kyle Orton signed to his three year contract backing up Tony Romo, all the indications are that the team is wanting to find someone who will supplant McGee as the third string quarterback. Just being decent on the scout team is obviously not enough any more, and there seems to be a lack of faith in McGee's ability to progress. With the quarterbacks that have been invited to visit Dallas, all appearances point to the team seeking a low-cost developmental project. Orton makes the likelihood of having to go to the third option during the season less likely than when Jon Kitna was still around, so the primary value of a third stringer will be in grooming him for the future. Rudy Carpenter has the advantage of familiarity with Dallas from his time with the team, something that seems to be attractive to the staff.
Cowboys had Rudy Carpenter in mind last yr when Jon Kitna got hurt but chose not 2 sign him off Bucs practice squad.— Todd Archer (@toddarcher) April 6, 2012
I would expect to see at least one other quarterback brought to camp through either a late round pick or UDFA, and then a battle to see who emerges. And if NFL player agent Marc Lillibridge is anything to go by, that UDFA may turn out to be Tulsa quarterback G.J. Kinne.
It is possible McGee could turn things around and show enough to regain the confidence of the team, which is about the only way he stays in Dallas. But if I was a betting man, I would be putting my money against him.
The other story I mentioned (since I had two topics, neither of which seemed sufficient for a post of their own) is the question of whether there is skullduggery afoot in the case of just how much interest Dallas really has in Dontari Poe. After initial reports that he was invited to Dallas, word came out that he was not coming after all. This included a strangely worded quote:
According to a team source, the Cowboys "like him a lot but don't want to draw attention to him."
Now, that sounds very much like a bit of subterfuge. The question is, just what exactly is the objective? If the Cowboys really wanted to hide a genuine interest in Poe, why give a reporter a statement saying essentially, "We didn't ask him here so you would all be fooled, OK?"
Dallas has a recent history of inviting every one of its first round picks to Valley Ranch before the draft. But the last one not to drop in for a visit, in 2005, was DeMarcus Ware. And I think he turned out OK.
Fan favorite David DeCastro also did not come to Dallas, but the perception there is that he is not expected to be around when Dallas goes on the clock. Poe is more likely to still be in play, so the Cowboys may be trying to affect his stock with other teams, even if it is in a rather ham-handed way.
This is rather typical of this time of year, in what has been called "lying season" in an article by Greg Gabriel at the National Football Post.
Often the question is asked if the players a club brings in for a visit are players that the club is definitely interested in drafting. In some cases yes, but it also can serve as a smokescreen. In other words, bring in and publicize that you are bringing in certain players only to make other clubs think that you may be interested.
And at the end, the article points out that having the prospect come to visit is not the only way to skin that particular cat.
Because many of the in-house visits are publicized, a club may choose not to bring in a player that they have a strong interest in but rather go visit the player at either his school or home. It's easier to keep these visits quiet unless you bring an "entourage" with you for the visit.
So there is likely to be some cloak-and-dagger stuff going on with the Cowboys' draft plans. We may be seeing what is really going on, or we may just be seeing what the team wants everyone to see.
It's only three more weeks until our agony will be over.