The Dallas Cowboys officially ended what has been more than a year of drama with injured and disgruntled defensive tackle Jay Ratliff by terminating the contract of the former four-time Pro Bowler on Wednesday.
The Cowboys released Ratliff from the Physically Unable to Perform List, citing a failed physical.
Ratliff, who missed the training camp and the preseason because of continued problems with groin and hamstring injuries, was expected to return to the team this week. But the Cowboys said Ratliff was still not close to being healthy. They considered putting him on injured reserve for the rest of the season. But, per a source, if he couldn't get on the field this year there was no way they were going to bring him back next year with a $8.2 million salary cap hit.
Cutting him now means that Ratliff will be count $6.9 million in dead money next because of the blank contract extension he signed before last season. But it will actually be a cap savings of over a $1 million and he will be off the books for the 2015 season.
Ratliff played in only six games last season before undergoing surgery for a sports hernia in December. It's also when he began having problems with Cowboys staff regarding his rehab. He was inactive for the first four games of the season an ankle injury before injury the groin November, resulting in the hernia surgery.
It was also last season when he physically went after owner Jerry Jones after the game because he thought his commitment to rehab was being questioned.
The Cowboys got past that hoped Ratliff would be ready for the 2013 season and have a huge impact in the new 4-3 defensive under coordinator Monte Kiffin.
Ratliff, who did his rehab away from the Cowboys facility, suffered a setback on the first day of training camp when he suffered a hamstring injury during conditional drills, complicated his rehab from the hernia surgery.
He missed all of training camp and the preseason. The Cowboys held out hope that putting him on the PUP list for the first six games would give him time to heal and return healthy for the bulk of the season.
The time has come and Ratliff, who returned to his private trainer for rehab, is no where near ready to play.
So the Cowboys decided to move on.
It brings to an end what started out as a rags to riches story that turned into bad reality play.
Ratliff joined the Cowboys an a forgotten seventh round pick in 2005 out of Auburn. He started out as a defensive end before finding a home at nose guard where he flourished and thrived in former coach Wade Phillips' 3-4 scheme. Ratliff made four Pro Bowls from 2008-2011 and was at one time the heart and soul of the Cowboys defense.
In 2011, Ratliff signed a five-year extension that totaled out to $48.6 million.
But his numbers been in sharp decline since notching 7.5 and 6 sacks in 2008 and 2009, respectively. He had 3.5 sacks in 2010, 2 in 2011 and none in 2012.
The battles with Jones and the staff over his rehab punctuated the bitterness of the decline and subsequent departure.