Cowboys need Bernadeau more now

OXNARD, Calif. -- The Cowboys wanted Brandon Moore to be a starter when they reached an agreement with him Tuesday night on a one-year deal.

Jason Garrett might talk about not having enough linemen to get through games and practice because of injuries that have knocked out Mackenzy Bernadeau, Nate Livings and Ryan Cook at different times in camp, but none of those guys had or have injuries that are season-ending or overly concerning.

The Cowboys simply feel like they could not pass up on an opportunity to sign a player with a résumé like Moore’s.

So why not try to do it earlier in the offseason when he could have made an easier transition?

Most likely price. Moore was looking for more than the $2.5 million he could have made with the Cowboys, and in March the Cowboys did not have salary-cap space to do any big or even moderate signings.

The Cowboys were getting Moore at a good price before he decided to retire.

But this has to signal some unhappiness and impatience with Bernadeau and Livings.

It’s been clear that the Cowboys want to have Ronald Leary start at left guard with the way they have talked him up. And Leary has played well. Livings will count $2.4 million against the salary cap this year whether he is on the team or not on the team in 2013. His $1.7 million base salary is guaranteed.

Bernadeau missed the offseason after having shoulder surgery. He missed his first offseason with the Cowboys because of knee and hip surgeries. He hurt his hamstring in the conditioning run and today’s practice will only be his third of camp.

Garrett acknowledged Bernadeau is rusty.

“When you miss a lot of that time, that’s really when you can grow and develop,” Garrett said. “He’s still a young player; has not started that many games. But injuries have bothered him since he’s been here, so he’s just getting back into the mix again.”

After Moore’s retirement, the Cowboys need Bernadeau to shake off the rust quickly. Their dalliance with Moore is proof they won’t wait very long.