Sports Outside the Beltway

Patrick Crayton and Sam Hurd: Progress Stopping JAGs

In a post titled “If you’re keeping the best players, Patrick Crayton and Sam Hurd stay,” DMN’s Todd Archer makes a passionate plea for keeping the two veteran receivers on the Dallas Cowboys roster.

And as the final cuts come down this weekend, you’ll hear teams talk about “keeping the best players.”

Sorry, not true. Even in a season without a salary cap.

If it were true we wouldn’t be talking about the Cowboys thinking of cutting or trading Patrick Crayton and Sam Hurd. If you keep the best 53 players, they are in that group. There can be no discussion.

It’s all about economics. I’m not saying it is right or wrong. It’s just the way it is.

Crayton will make $2 million this season. Hurd will make $1.759 million. Hefty pricetags for backup wide receivers, but there is a peace of mind about having them around. You know what you’re going to get from Crayton. You can’t say that about every other receiver on the roster. Hurd is one of the best special teams’ players on the roster.

Remember Bill Parcells’ axioms about “progress stoppers” and “JAGs.” Crayton and Hurd are very solid players but, ultimately, both are “just a guy.” They’re never going to be any better than they are now. So, I can certainly see trading or releasing one of them to give the spot to a younger, cheaper player with more upside.

Recall, too, that Crayton was given the WR2 spot clean last year and had it taken away from him by Miles Austin. And was arguably outplayed by Michael Crabtree. Guys like Crayton and Hurd become progress stoppers, making it impossible to develop your future stars.

Of course, you’re not going to win a Super Bowl with nothing but superstars and rookies.   There aren’t enough of the former to go around and the latter aren’t going to pan out at high enough rate.   But Parcells was right:  If a guy isn’t showing you something by their 3rd year in the League, they’re likely not going to do it.   And it just doesn’t make sense to keep a lot of older, expensive players on your bench.

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