IRVING, Texas – Jason Garrett poured on the praise when discussing the Cowboys’ decision to cut Andre Gurode.
“He is a five-time Pro Bowler, outstanding teammate, great leader for our team and was an awfully good football player for a long time,” Garrett said. “I think that is line one when you talk about him and this decision we made as an organization.
“These are made around the league every year. They are hard decisions to make, guys who have been good for you for so long and you have to move on to the next guy, the younger guy.”
If Gurode was so good, why would the Cowboys get rid of him?
Here are a few good reasons: He was overrated, overpaid and overweight. Oh, and they’re confident in Phil Costa.
Don’t be fooled by Gurode’s five consecutive Pro Bowl berths. He was voted in the last two seasons based purely on reputation. His performance has been a concern for the Cowboys.
Gurode would have made $5.5 million this season. That’s far too much for a declining player, especially one who reported to camp weighing 334 pounds – 18 more than his listed weight last season – and recovering from June knee surgery.
Costa, the scrappy, short-armed center the Cowboys found in the undrafted bin last season, seized the opportunity to work with the starters while Gurode sat on the sideline. He played well enough to convince the Dallas decision-makers that the Cowboys would be better served starting a minimum-salaried no-name instead of a highly paid, highly decorated veteran at center.
Not even Costa’s knee sprain, which the Cowboys hope won’t keep him from playing in the season opener, could save Gurode’s job.
Costa lacks experience. He’s generously listed at 6-foot-3, 311 pounds, but he doesn’t have ideal measurable. Yet he is the kind of player Garrett wants.
“He is one of those guys because he is smart, because he is tough, because he is intense, because it’s important to him, you see taking advantage of opportunities as well as anybody,” Garrett said. “He did that in this situation. He grew and grew as he was the starter in camp. It was hard not to like what he did.”
The Cowboys liked it better than what they saw from a five-time Pro Bowler, especially when the finances were considered.