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The Davis Deal - value or folly for Dallas?

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I don't have anything on the official signing of Leonard Davis yet, but Adam Schefter reports the details of the contract.

The Dallas Cowboys reached agreement with free-agent OL Leonard Davis on a seven-year, $49.6 million contract with $18.75 million guaranteed and $24 million in the first three years of the deal. Dallas is still uncertain whether Davis will play at right tackle or right guard.

I guess how you look at those numbers is all based on the expectations you have for Leonard Davis' play. His contract is in line with what the other offensive linemen received in free agency, the numbers are almost identical to Eric Steinbach and Derrick Dockery. Kris Dielman signed for slightly less to stay where he was. So you can't say that Jerry Jones out-spent the market.

Kris Dielman: six-year, $39 million, $17 million guaranteed over the first two years.
Eric Steinbach: seven-year, $49.5 million, $17 million guaranteed, $23 million in the first three years.
Derrick Dockery: seven-year, $49 million, $18.5 million guaranteed, $23 million in the first three seasons.
Leonard Davis: seven-year, $49.6 million, $18.75 million guaranteed, $24 million in the first three years.

Well, I lied; you can say Jerry outspent the market, by just a little bit. Davis' 49.6 million tops Steinbach's 49.5 million. Davis' 18.75 million guaranteed tops Dockery's 18.5 million guaranteed. And Davis' 24 million in the first three years tops Steinbach and Dockery's 23 million over the first three years. So Leonard Davis gets the satisfaction of topping the list, but just by a smidgen. Still, that seemed like Jerry just giving Davis a little cherry on top, basically the contract is right at what the other big-name linemen got.

But, did he overpay for what he's getting? That's the unknown because that all depends on Davis' production next year. When you compare his contract with previous contracts for Cowboys offensive line free agents like Kyle Kosier or Marco Rivera, it looks outrageously big. But again, with the expanded salary cap, market values for contracts have moved considerably higher.

So if you come from the school of thought that says: Davis is still young and he's got every physical tool in the book, and he will finally get to play with an organization that isn't the Cardinals - then you probably see this as a fair deal at market-value.

If you come from the rival school which says: Davis is an over-hyped lineman who never lived up to his potential and is known to have less than stellar motivation - then you probably think we overpaid.

I'm starting my own school. We have a short list of demands. 1) He play guard. 2) We re-sign Colombo. 3) Davis becomes a bulldozer at guard and helps anchor our line for the next five years. If that happens - then I'll think we got a steal.

And for the truly crazy part of it all -

The Patriots signed Adalius Thomas, the deal is for $37.5 million over five years, including $24 million in the first three years.

Maybe if we had offered Thomas the same money we offered Davis he would've signed here. Tell me a month ago that wouldn't have been a no-brainer choice.