What Should the Dallas Cowboys Do with Jay Ratliff?

Brad Gagnon@Brad_Gagnon NFL National ColumnistJanuary 23, 2013

Courtesy: Grapevine Police/Dallas Morning News
Courtesy: Grapevine Police/Dallas Morning News

I try not to phrase these types of reactionary blog posts in the form of a question, simply because you're better off taking a hard stance and laying out an argument from there. The problem is that I'm currently torn on what route is best for the Dallas Cowboys to take after longtime nose tackle Jay Ratliff was charged with driving while intoxicated on Tuesday.


Why Ratliff Should Be Cut...

It's one thing to drive drunk, but it's another thing to do so when you've had a recent death in the family as a result of such heinousness. The Cowboys are supposedly a family, and Cowboy Jerry Brown lost his life six-and-a-half weeks ago in a car accident only miles from where Ratliff crashed his vehicle. Another Cowboy, Josh Brent, was the drunk driver of the car Brown was in. 

Ratliff clearly didn't take anything away from that incident. We've heard over and over about the car service players have at their disposal for situations in which they've had too much to drink. He attended Brown's funeral and couldn't possibly have forgotten about that tragic incident. He was aware of alternative ways of getting home. And instead, he chose to get behind the wheel.

So to many, the Cowboys would look silly if they were to give Ratliff a pass for this. The team was already criticized mightily for letting Brent spend a home game on the sideline with his peers. To some, that made it look as though the organization was excusing Brent. 

This time, they have to put their foot down. 

Conveniently, the 'Boys don't need Ratliff to play nose tackle anymore. They have Jason Hatcher and Sean Lissemore and Tyrone Crawford to play inside in their new 4-3 defense and can invest in some new bodies this spring. Ratliff missed 10 games last year and will be 32 next season. His sack total has dropped off in each of the last four years. He's overpaid and declining quickly.

This is the right time to move on.


Why Ratliff Shouldn't Be Cut...

If the organization supported Brent, what kind of message would it be sending if it decided not to support Ratliff? Why one guy and not the other? The Cowboys were there for Brent, and after everything Ratliff has brought to this team during his eight seasons in Dallas, you could make the argument that it would be unfair for the man's football family to ditch him at a time like this.

Financially, the Cowboys will only save $1 million by cutting Ratliff now. From a cap perspective, they'll still be paying him more than $5 million regardless. And while there are some promising candidates to play big roles on the defensive line, a healthy Ratliff would still be a crucial contributor up front. 

So from both of those standpoints, it wouldn't make a lot of sense to part ways with Ratliff right now. Throw in that this is a first-time offense and the argument can be made that such a move would be harsh.


What do you think, Cowboys fans? Vote in the poll and elaborate in the comment section below.