Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones was addressing fans at the team's recent kickoff luncheon, when he made mention of the league's new collective bargaining agreement. He added a little bit of a joke at the end, and now, that joke might end up putting some of Jones' money into the pocket of Jay Ratliff.
"We have assured that we will have 10 years of where we don't have any issues with anything regarding clubs, players or those types of salaries. Now, I will make an exception," Jones said. "Jay Ratliff will tell you, 'You've got a big issue, Jerry, with my salary. I need a little more money.' "
That Jones would mention this so publicly was a surprise -- not an all together unpleasant surprise -- to Ratliff's agent, Mark Slough, who hadn't complained once about his client's contract. He had this to say.
"We certainly are not unhappy with our contract. Do we believe we outperformed the contract? Absolutely. Did we expect to outperform the contract. Sure. Are we bitter or unhappy? Not at all," Slough said. "You haven't heard us say one thing at all about our contract. We recognize the economic times we're in as a country ... We're not going to complain about what we get paid to play in the NFL. Having said that, we believe we've outperformed the deal and I don't think anyone would take issue with that or disagree with that. You want players on your team who outperform your deal."
And now, according to the Dallas Morning News, the Cowboys are talking to Ratliff about getting him a raise. That worked out pretty well for Team Ratliff.
His agent's right, too. Ratliff has way outperformed his deal, and is one of the premiere defensive tackles in the league. The former seventh-round pick was an All-Pro in 2009, and has made the last three Pro Bowls.
The knock against him is that he doesn't have prototypical size for the position. Most nose tackles in a 3-4 scheme are 350-pound blocks of humanity who eat up space, clog rushing lanes and keep offensive linemen off of linebackers. That's not necessarily Ratliff's game. At 6-4, 285, he's better at wreaking havoc in the opposing backfield. But he does that very, very well.
Prototypical or not, I don't see the Cowboys having a lot of other options, and Ratliff's done nothing but produce. He's played above his pay grade for years now.
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