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NFL Free Agency: Requiem For A Journeyman

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The bulk of the guys who make up your roster are those blue-collar players who bring a lunch pail to work and do the job without fanfare. Dallas just bid farewell to one of those guys whom you need but hope you never have to have play.

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Mackenzy Bernadeau came to the Dallas Cowboys at a time when the offensive line had reached rock bottom. He was a part of the first step toward restoring respectability to a unit that had fallen into disrepair. Many of us remember when Dallas signed the offensive lineman along with Nate Livings to form the pair that became known to BTBers as Bernie and the Bengal. The two were widely viewed as just a couple of JAG's and possibly a waste of resources. Well, the Bengal did not last too long, but Beradeau turned into one of those players that every team has to have.

Bernie started 27 games for the Cowboys during his first two seasons in Dallas, and throughout his career he remained a player who was good enough to start somewhere in the National Football League. Sure, he is the guy you are always looking to upgrade, that is the life of a journeyman, but he was good enough that a team could get by. His real value to the Dallas Cowboys was the role that he filled during his third and fourth seasons with the club, a veteran backup.

In his role, Bernie was able to fill any of the three interior line positions. He brought a veteran's savvy to either guard position, and he also was able to man the middle of the line without giving away too much. Mackenzy's versatility allowed the Cowboys the option of adding one more player at another position on both the 53-man roster and on the 45-man gameday list. In short, the fact that he was there gave the coaching staff more flexibility in personnel decisions than they would have normally had. To someone like Jason Garrett, that is an asset worth keeping around.

For years the Cowboys had the benefit of Bernie in uniform. He did not dominate, but he did manage to hold on. He filled a role that the team needed at a time when they needed it the most. He was also there to serve as a mentor to guys like the group of first-round talents that now man the offensive from for the Cowboys. That mentoring most assuredly helped in the development of players like Travis Frederick, Zack Martin, and Ronald Leary. His role may not have been glamorous and will probably always be under-rated, but he did what a journeyman offensive lineman is supposed to do.

After four seasons with the Cowboys, Mackenzy Bernadeau left Dallas the same way he came, via free agency. He is still good enough to start somewhere in the league, and in Jacksonville he will have that opportunity. He deserves to play if he can. The best thanks that the team could give a man like Bernie is to wish him well as he rides off into the sunset years of his career. There is no doubt that he will give the Jaguars his all, he did for the Cowboys. Eventually they too will select an upgrade, but in the meantime they will have a player on the roster who has been there and done that. For  journeyman, Bernie has done quite well for himself. Eight years in the league is nothing to sneeze at and hopefully he will be able to add a few more to that total before beginning the post playing phase of his life.