Sports Outside the Beltway

Cowboys Selling Zach Thomas #54 Jerseys

The Cowboys are selling Zach Thomas jerseys with his number 54 on them, despite that number beloning to 2006 #1 draft pick Bobby Carpenter, Clarence Hill reports.

Cowboys linebacker Bobby Carpenter still has the No. 54 jersey, as far as he knows.

The Zach Thomas replica jersey is priced at $74.99 at The Dallas Cowboys’ merchandising department is already on the Zach Thomas bandwagon, as are many Cowboys fans. But last week’s signing of the former Dolphins and Texas Tech linebacker is not going over well with everybody in the Cowboys locker room.

For starters, the Cowboys are already selling No. 54 jerseys with “Thomas” emblazoned on the back on their Web site. Thomas wore 54 with the Dolphins. The problem is that linebacker Bobby Carpenter currently wears the No. 54. According to a source, the merchandising department might have gotten ahead of itself in marketing Thomas’ jersey, considering that a number change has not been worked out with Carpenter, and that Thomas has said he would be willing to wear No. 55. Carpenter confirmed in a text message Tuesday night that he has not given his number away.

And then there’s the little matter of Thomas’ role. After signing a one-year, $3 million contract for next season, he is expected to be penciled in as starting weakside linebacker. The problem there is that Akin Ayodele has started at weakside linebacker the past two years. Ayodele is vacationing in Brazil. But according to a source close to Ayodele, Thomas’ signing is an indication that Ayodele’s days in Dallas are numbered. Ayodele does not play special teams. A team normally doesn’t keep a backup linebacker that doesn’t play special teams, especially with a $2.5 million base salary for next season.

“They will try to trade him or release him,’’ a source said. “Obviously, Akin is not going to be happy about it. He has done a good job here. Zach is not signing here unless he is starting. I just don’t foresee where they keep them both.”

So, the Cowboys have overpaid for an old dude, alienated a 1st round pick from 2 years ago and made it harder for him to crack the starting lineup, and are going to ship out a perfectly serviceable guy they paid free agent money to not long ago? Does that make any sense?

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