As you have probably already heard, Dallas Cowboys starting middle linebacker Rolando McClain has been suspended for the first 10 games of the 2016 season.
This suspension comes on the heels of McClain skipping Organized Team Activities last month, and reportedly coming to mandatory mini-camp out of shape.
Most of the Cowboys faithful are done with McClain. Sure he can produce on the field and has shown that he has abilities which are rare in the NFL, but his aloofness, perceived laziness, and failed drug tests outweigh any talent he might have in the eyes of many.
Head Coach Jason Garrett preaches about bringing in the “Right Kind of Guys,” players who are high character, play with high effort and intensity, and are simply not stupid. Unfortunately, McClain doesn’t seem to fit into any of those three categories, and the majority of people around the Cowboys seem to believe it’s time to let him go.
After all, this could be the perfect opportunity for the Cowboys to take a stand and send a message to their entire roster. McClain is on a one year deal and is missing 10 games next season anyway, so in theory cutting him should be a simple solution. DeMarcus Lawrence and Randy Gregory are also facing suspensions, but they are both younger and have much more “upside” than McClain does at this point in their careers.
Plus, with rookie Jaylon Smith waiting in the wings for a 2017 return (we hope), McClain’s long-term future with the Cowboys was already doubtful.
So why not just get rid of McClain, showing the league you mean business and possibly “scaring straight” your other suspended players?
What if the offense remains healthy, and the young players on defense do just enough to keep the team afloat for 10 games? What if the Cowboys are sitting at 6-4 or 7-3 with a clear view of an NFC East crown and a home playoff game?
McClain could come back with a vengeance and give the defense an extra spark which could push the Cowboys over the hump and get them that playoff birth. And if he doesn’t? That’s fine, you are still a winning team without him!
But this sounds selfish, doesn’t it? If as an organization the Cowboys really want to push forward this idea of “RKG’s” and they want to preach smart, clean, professionalism on and off the field, then they should cut McClain right now.
The Cowboys have plenty of time to release McClain, though. There is no reason to jump the gun in early July and make a decision which may cost you in a few months.
Let’s say the Cowboys start off 1-5 and are looking horrid in all phases of the game. Well, then you can get your wish and cut McClain, but can do so knowing with some certainty that 2016 was a lost season regardless of whether he was there for week 12 or not.
I think we could all sleep a little easier with that amount of closure.
Beyond McClain’s on the field talent, there are also other reasons for why cutting him at this point would be useless.
Basically, whether he is on the team or not for the first 10 games, none of us with know the difference.
Those games he is suspended for won’t count against the salary cap, and he won’t account for an official roster spot until his suspension is over.
So the Cowboys can still carry 53 other players for those 10 games he is suspended, just as they could if they were to cut him today. And, McClain will only cost about $1.9 million if he remains on the roster compared to the $750,000 in dead money the Cowboys would have to deal with if they cut him. Both financially and roster-numbers wise, keeping McClain aboard makes sense.
If he won’t count against the cap or against the roster total, what is the rush to get rid of him for?
I completely understand if as a fan you are fed-up or done with McClain and his “antics.” But I also believe that rushing to release him after news of the suspension would only make this problem go from bad to worse from a football standpoint.
Forget about Rolando McClain for now.
Yes, he looks like a fool, and a lazy fool at that. But whether he is released this month, next month, or anytime before his suspension is up, the Cowboys will not know the difference.
They might as well let him ride the suspension out, play the final 6 (and hopefully more) games, and then say “good riddance” as his contract expires going into 2017.
But, cutting him today does the Cowboys no good whatsoever.
Anyway, please enjoy this “crying Jordan-face” of Rolando McClain to lighten your spirits: