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05/09/2013

Felix Jones & the Dallas Cowboys definition of a "productive" player

Felix_jones_dallas_cowboysIn case you had not heard, or you simply don't care, former Dallas Cowboys running back Felix Jones is on a tour of potential teams, including the New England Patriots, Philadelphia Eagles, etc.

My advice? Sign with caution. IF IF IF he is in shape, and healthy, he can be productive.

The other former Cowboys "high profile" free agent to leave is corner Mike Jenkins, who is with the Oakland Raiders.

The San Diego Chargers signed tight end John Phillips as a free agentand former defensive lineman Marcus Spears went to the Baltimore Ravens.

My advice? Keep expectations realistic. He can play, when healthy.

The Cowboys elected not to keep any of these players this offseason because the team felt they had better options already on the roster. But on their way out, Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones labeled Jenkins and Jones as "productive" while they were with the team.

The same for Martellus Bennett, who left two years ago to sign a one year deal with the New York Giants. The Giants liked Marty B so much they elected not to keep him, but the Chicago Bears entered the stupid party and gave him money.

Here is the rub: Technically, Stephen is right. But he's also very wrong. Given where these players were picked, and the guaranteed money the team gave the likes of Felix, Jenkins and Marty B they were not productive enough. 

The fact that all three were selected in the first and second round of the 2008 drafts, and none are with this team, is not good.

Look at the top 3 picks by the Cowboys of the 2008 draft and see how "productive" each was.

Felix Jones, RB, 22nd pick overall
64 games, 23 starts, 2,728 rushing yards, 4.8 ypc., 11 rushing TDs
128 receptions, 3 receiving TDs
64 kick returns, 24.0 avg., 1 TD
Why Stephen is right: Some of those numbers are good, especially the yards per carry. Felix could be effective.
Why Stephen is wrong: You can find a running back in your garage, and there is never a reason to go this high on backs unless he is super-duper, extra-extra special. A first round pick should always be worthy of a second contract with the team, and running backs never last that long to get that deal.

Nfl_u_mjenkins1_300Mike Jenkins, CB, 25th overall pick
71 games, 48 starts, 8 ints., 1 td, 1 ff, 43 passes defended, 146 tkls. 1 Pro Bowl 
Why Stephen is right: For a short period, Jenkins was indeed a quality cover corner who made plays. He was a Pro Bowler.
Why Stephen is wrong: Jenkins fought injuries, and was not always the most eager tackler. Good corners are hard to find, and if Jenkins had been "productive" he would still be here and the team would never have had to sign Brandon Carr to a big contract.

Martellus Bennett, TE, 61st overall pick
60 games, 32 starts, 85 rec., 846 yds., 4 TD
Why Stephen is right: Martellus could block a tank, and the run game was better because of Marty B. No tight end was going to see a lot of catches because of Jason Witten's presence on this offense.
Why Stephen is wrong: Marty B could be so much more, and is one of the more aggrivating players this team has known in the last 10 years. There is a reason why the New York Giants did not re-sign him. 

All of this comes down to expectations - had these players been selected after the second round, they are each fantastic picks and no one could argue the "productive" player label.

Each had moments with this team, but they all three left leaving us feeling they should have been a bit more productive.

 

@MacEngelProf
tengel@star-telegram.com
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Comments

Rae Collins, Fort Worth

Bennett is the man. He can block out the sun. He would be great on most any team.

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