And just like that, we can end the speculation over Cullen Jenkins as well. The Dallas Cowboys have inked a former player, Kenyon Coleman, to a two-year free agent contract per the Star Telegram. The terms of the deal have yet to be disclosed.
Coleman will presumably compete with Igor Olshansky to man the right side of Dallas' defensive line. He'd line up next to Jay Ratliff and Marcus Spears, who also signed a contract today to remain in Dallas. Coleman suited up for the Browns the last two seasons, under the tutelage of new Dallas defensive coordinator Rob Ryan. In fact, that's part of Coleman's appeal, his familiarity with Ryan's exotic schemes. The 32 year old Coleman had 50 tackles with 2.5 sacks in 2010, to go along with a surprising three fumble recoveries.
Coleman blossomed once he left the Cowboys, as he was kept as a role player by then head coach Bill Parcells. In fact, taking a snapshot of his career from afar, it looks eerily reminiscent to what just occured with Stephen Bowen. A backup 3-4 defensive end progresses to the point that he looks poised for a breakout season. New coaching regime comes in and the player finds himself moving on to the highest bidder.
During his four seasons with the Cowboys, Coleman amassed an 'approximate value' of 8. Approximate value is Pro Football Reference's metric that attempts to place each individual season from every player ever in comparison. In the four years since, he has amassed a 25 AV, including 8 from last season. Pro Football Focus wasn't as kind in their grading, assigning him an +4.5, although that was severly deflated by a horrid showing against Pittsburgh (-3.1) in week 17.
The Cowboys will now wait until August 4th, the expected date of CBA ratification, to unveil their new defensive line rotation. Coleman replaces Bowen and it would appear the Cowboys will be content with letting Sean Lissemore and Alex Daniels compete for Jason Hatcher's snaps. Hatcher currently remains unsigned. The nose tackle position will continue to be manned by Jay Ratliff and Josh Brent.
There was excitement for some Cowboys fans that free agent Cullen Jenkins might come on board, but this signing is more along the lines of what Jerry Jones has done over the last 2+ seasons. it appears the Cowboys will be signing middle tier players to augment their in-house stars. Today's flirtation with Nnamdi Asomugha was real; but he was a legitimate career superstar, unlike Jenkins who had turned in great performances amidst a slew of injuries.
Numerous reports of today's camp sessions detailed Rob Ryan unveiling some of his numerous inventive personnel packages and schemes. Reports such as this wrap up by BTB's own Birddog26, detail Ryan putting the defense in positions to confuse the opposition. One of those formations included DeMarcus Ware lining up at nose tackle with Jay Ratliff blitzing. With less than 14 days before the Denver preseason game, it's going to be imperative to have someone in the front seven on the field to help get people in the proper position on the fly. Kenyon Coleman might just be that guy.
Side note musing.
-- Now that we have adequate depth on the defensive line, I wouldn't be shocked to see Igor Olshansky released. If my numbers are correct, cutting Olshansky could free up about $3.5 million this season, costing $1.4 in dead money next season. If one were to look at reduced playing time for Igor, that's a $5 million salary cap for a rotational safety net. That's as close to dead money as you can get without it being, well, dead money.
-- I mentioned earlier that Coleman has amassed a 25 AV over the last four years. Cullen Jenkins over the same span? 23 AV. I'm not saying, I'm just saying.