The Dallas Cowboys finally got in on the action. They made a trade that will supposedly settle the backup QB crisis they were in when they decided to roll with the noodle-armed one, Brad Johnson, in last year's campaign. After cutting Johnson earlier this week and allowing Brooks Bollinger to hit the market, the Cowboys decided that Jon Kitna was the man for the job. To make sure of it, they didn't wait for him to hit the open market and decided to rid themselves of Anthony Henry in the process; judging that his skills are on the decline and also guilty of blocking the way for one-year vets Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick.
They followed that up by replacing an aged LB who had played his whole career with a single franchise before coming to Dallas last year, with another aged LB who had played his whole career with a single franchise. Zach Thomas was out, and it wasn't Ray Lewis, but Keith Brooking, who will be given a shot to saddle-up next to Bradie James and become a run-stuffing force for the Cowboys next year.
So just what did Dallas get for their troubles?
Make the jump for more.
Yeah, Keith Brooking is my boy. He was a stud at Georgia Tech and flat-out got it done for the Falcons for years. So am I excited about his arrival with the Dallas Cowboys? Uhm, sort of. He'll be reuniting with Wade Phillips as an ILB in the 3-4. That was when he had his best years. Having him play weakside LB in a 4-3 at his age, having to play in space and in coverage, was not utilizing his strengths. Pushing him back inside as a run-stuffer is a better idea. Dallas will pull him on third downs just like they did with Zach Thomas so he won't be asked to cover nearly as much. The contract is minimal (3 years/$6 million/$2.5 million guaranteed) so we can still bring in other options at ILB. I admit it does have the smell of the Zach Thomas deal from last year to it, it's taking a chance on a 'long in the tooth' veteran that will act as a stop-gap. Who knows when Brooking's skills will completely go, we can only hope it won't be for at least one more year. We won't have to worry about his character or his professionalism and he just might help with leadership on the defense.
So I'm a little excited about it but Dallas still has a ways to go to solidify the ILB position. They need Kevin Burnett back if possible (although unlikely), or they'll need to pick up the future-guy for the middle in the draft and they might even want to grab another cheap free agent if possible. Of course, they could also throw Bobby Carpenter into the mix this year to finally make a decision on his future. Some combination of those moves will be made.
Now, if the Cowboys had gotten Brooking three or four years ago, I'd really be excited. You can read up on Keith Brooking here, here and from the Atlanta paper, here.
On Jon Kitna, I'm OK with that one, too. But again, I'm not thrilled or overjoyed. Kitna still has some arm - unlike Brad Johnson - and he is very familiar with Jason Garrett's system. Garrett and Mike Martz both run a variation of the Norv Turner offense which actually goes back to Don Coryell (and really to Sid Gillman). It's a stretch-the-field, deep-route passing game combined with a power running game and Kitna will have an easy time making that transition. He'll also be good counsel to Romo and can help him and RW2 get on the same page. RW2 had this to say about Kitna:
"I'm pretty excited about the move. That's my guy. That's a guy that knows me and he's a guy that will help Tony go through anything he needs to go through as a quarterback. Jon has been there, done that. He helped show Carson (Palmer) the ropes in Cincinnati.
"We don't want anything to happen to Tony, but if Tony goes down, now we have a great backup."
"If you give him time, he's one of the more accurate guys in the game. He trusts his wide receivers. He will let the ball go before you start your break. I like that."
The big question is can he come in and win games if Romo goes down. We all know that Brad Johnson couldn't and it cost us big time last year.
Turns out that Kitna won't cost us big time, at least financially and with Anthony Henry thrown into the deal, will actually help our salary cap.
The trade saves a little more than $1.5 million against the salary cap, with Kitna agreeing to restructure his contract. Kitna was scheduled to earn a $1 million roster bonus Tuesday on top of a $3 million base salary in 2009. Henry was scheduled to earn $3.6 million this year ($2.6 million in base salary, $1 million in a roster bonus).
Losing Anthony Henry gives up some depth issues at CB but that's something the Cowboys can rectify with a little work. There are some CB's floating around in free agency (Shawn Springs being one) and eventually a couple of them will be left off the carousel and will come looking for work cheap.
In other news, we did pay Montrae Holland a $500,000 bonus so he will be given a chance to make the squad again.
And let's keep an eye on this and see if the article description matches the actual interview which will be shown tonight.
In an interview with CBS 11 Sports at the new Cowboys stadium Thursday afternoon, Jerry Jones said the decision on whether Terrell Owens would be on the 2009 Cowboys team has NOT yet been made.
Jones also hinted at running back Marion Barber's return to the backup roll in 2009 with second-year back Felix Jones starting.
When asked about Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis, Jones said he would not rule out the possibility of the team acquiring him in free agency.