IRVING, Texas -- After spending time last week in Indianapolis at the NFL scouting combine, it's the perfect time to bring out another offseason edition of Five Wonders.
Away we go:
• Adrian Peterson may want to play for the Dallas Cowboys, but I wonder if people ever put the financials together to see if there could be an easy match. Peterson is set to make $12.75 million in base salary this season. If the Minnesota Vikings cut or trade him, they have to assume $2.4 million in proration. It's quite doable for the Vikings. For the Cowboys? It's not impossible but it would waste their cap management strategy of the last few years. Remember, Dez Bryant will have a cap figure of around $13 million with the franchise tag in 2015. Tony Romo's cap figure is $27.773 million and an acquisition of Peterson would require a huge restructure that would add significant proration to his contract that would add to the potential dead money when he retires or is cut. Peterson is a great back but a trade would require too many draft picks and too much cash, in my opinion. Now if you're talking free agency maybe that happens but are the Vikings really going to cut him?
• I wonder if there will be a bigger market for free-agent right tackle Jermey Parnell than many will realize. The chatter around the combine had Parnell being one of those hidden free-agent finds, sort of like how the Washington Redskins ponied up in a big way for Stephen Bowen a few years ago. It's not exactly coincidental I mentioned the Redskins because that's where Bill Callahan has ended up. The Redskins' offensive line needs help and Callahan will need a player who knows what he wants. Enter Parnell, who was one of Callahan's projects. Parnell played solidly after Doug Free went down twice in the offseason. Parnell turns 29 in July but he does not have a lot of mileage on him.
• Speaking of using the past as an example of what might happen in the future I wonder if we will see the Brandon Carr situation play out the way the Free situation played out two years ago. The Cowboys wanted Free to take a paycut for the longest time, but they were more than happy to hold on to him at a higher cap rate because they could afford it. By the time all of the landing spots were filled, the Cowboys were able to get Free to agree to a 50 percent pay cut in 2013 and '14. Carr is scheduled to make $8 million this year, which is too high, and he has a $12.7 million cap figure. The Cowboys can slow play the Carr talks as long as they want until the starting gigs across the league are filled and then force Carr's hand to come in at the team's price or have to take less with another team. I do think Carr has value to the Cowboys that will be greater than other teams after going without an interception in 2014.
• When the Cowboys talked casually about their free agent linebackers, they always mentioned Rolando McClain and Justin Durant. They needed to be prompted to bring up Bruce Carter. I wonder if that was not by accident. Carter led the Cowboys in interceptions. He played his best football down the stretch of the season but was inconsistent for much of his time with the Cowboys. Some team will be willing to pay Carter much more than the Cowboys want to pay Carter. If they believe his best spot is at strong-side linebacker then they will not go very high to keep him since that is a two-down linebacker spot mostly.
• I wonder if the Cowboys would want the Philadelphia Eagles to trade up to get quarterback Marcus Mariota leading up to the spring. The Eagles currently hold the 20th pick and the best guess is they would have to move up to at least No. 6 in order to get Mariota. Chip Kelly would finally have a Chip Kelly quarterback to run a Chip Kelly offense. But to move up that high the Eagles would have to fork over a lot of picks, which might be a good thing -- a really good thing -- for the Cowboys. I say that realizing how good Mariota could be in that spread offense, but the Eagles have a lot of needs. Kelly has already been brandished a genius in some circles. If he can pull off the trade and pull off building the rest of the roster without draft picks, then maybe he'd earn the tag.