IRVING, Texas -- The time has come for the Dallas Cowboys to cut ties with linebacker Rolando McClain.
On the field, he has shown that he's a playmaker in his two seasons with Dallas, but he has not shown the discipline required off the field to earn the right to play in the league or for the Cowboys.
For the second straight year, McClain will be suspended to start a season due to violating the NFL's substance abuse policy, according to sources. This time it's 10 games. Last year it was four.
This is different than cases involving DeMarcus Lawrence or Randy Gregory, who will miss the first four games on suspension. They are on their second chance with the Cowboys. There is something to be salvaged with them. If they run afoul of the policy again, then the Cowboys need to part ways with them too.
McClain has had his fair share of chances.
He has used them all. At least with the Cowboys.
If another team wants to take a chance, good luck.
As talented as he is, he is just not worth it. It took the Cowboys 12 games to realize that with Greg Hardy last year. They don't need to wait longer on McClain.
The Cowboys gave him a job when nobody else would in 2014. They stood by him last year when he was suspended four games. Jerry Jones stood by him this offseason when he skipped voluntary workouts because his kids live in Alabama.
Other players have kids who live in different states, yet they managed to make it to every workout, every organized team activity and the mandatory minicamp.
For two years the Cowboys have let McClain operate largely on his own terms. If he didn't want to take part in individual drills, he would watch. Teammates notice. He took part in the early part of this offseason program and was in woeful condition. Soon thereafter, he returned to Alabama and came back for the mandatory June minicamp in woeful condition.
He was not allowed to practice but went through individual drills.
The Cowboys were short-handed at linebacker the entire time because of surgeries to Sean Lee and second-round pick Jaylon Smith, and minor bumps and bruises suffered by other linebackers. That didn't go unnoticed, either.
The longer McClain is around, the longer it strains what coach Jason Garrett has attempted to build: a team committed to and accountable to each other.
If the Cowboys cut McClain, they are out the $750,000 signing bonus he received in March. If he remains on the team, they could recoup the money. In the NFL landscape, $750,000 is a pittance.
The Cowboys aren't as talented without McClain, but there comes a time when talent goes only so far. The Cowboys tried with McClain. He has cared about game days. He hasn't cared much for any other day. The Cowboys made special rules for players like Michael Irvin, Deion Sanders and others. They were worth it.
The Cowboys might not be better without McClain, but they will be better off without him.