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Gurode Released

After eight season, a position switch, and five Pro Bowls it appears that the Cowboys are moving in a different direction at center as they released Andre Gurode on Monday.    Gurode, who missed the first couple of weeks of training camp due to a knee scope, seems to have become expendable with the rise of some of the younger lineman.

The writing appeared to be on the wall for Gurode when the Cowboys had him practice with the first team all week and then made him a healthy scratch from the active list against the Vikings in the Cowboys “dress rehearsal” on Saturday. At the time, Jerry Jones called it a “business decision”. That immediately sent the feeling that Gurode had played his last game as a Cowboy.

It is rumoured the Cowboys were shopping around Gurode, who was coming off a season in which he was rated #57 in the NFL’s Top 100 players from 2010. As the weekend passed it became clear the Cowboys were not going to find a team that was willing to take on the $6.1 million base salary for Gurode for this season. Gurode would cost the Cowboys $7.2 million against the cap this season with his bonus and base salary. We know that the NFL is a business but this decision seemed a surprise.

Head coach Jason Garrett weighed in on Gurode after the game against the Vikings, “There are a lot of issues we’ve had with some of our veteran players with this salary cap situation that we’re in,” Garrett said. “Some of those moves happened prior to training camp. A lot of discussions to try to make those situations work out happened prior to training camp. And this probably falls into that same category. We’re going to do some business with him tomorrow. We feel like he’s as healthy as he’s been. We’re going to try to work something out that’s a favorable situation for both sides.”

With the rise of second year man Phil Costa, who will cost the Cowboys $5.5 million less than Gurode, and the play of undrafted rookie Kevin Kowalski, the Cowboys appear to be willing to roll the dice on youth as they head into the season opener against the N.Y. Jets September 11th.

After Gurode’s release, Calvin Watkins of ESPN quoted a NFC scout who could shed some light on why the Cowboys decided not to pay for Gurode and risk it all on Costa, saying of Gurode, “[He is] slow and can’t get to the second level anymore. He needs too much help with protection in the passing game and that’s not good for a player of his experience. It looks like he plays when he wants too.” That is a knock that has been with Gurode since his days with Bill Parcells.

Further, Watkins quoted another NFC personnel man who said of Gurode, “A mauler who is descending. A slow-footed player. Start Phil Costa for the future, he’s a better athlete.” All signs seem to point to Costa being the player of the future for the Cowboys. The problem is Costa is dealing with an injury to his PCL that is expected to keep him out until the opener. Garrett isn’t sure he’ll be out that long, “It’s really a day-by-day thing. We’ll see how he responds to treatment and hopefully he can get back soon.”

Gurode is rumoured to be on his way to Seattle for a meeting and a look by the Seahawks. Gurode may even be reunited with former Cowboys guard Leonard Davis who is expected to sign later Tuesday with the Hawks.

Either way, the Cowboys look like they are banking on their young guys to step up on the line. The average age of that line is now 25.2 years old. At 27, Doug Free is the one of the oldest and second most experienced player on the line. Kyle Kosier is the “old man” of the starting group. Both guys will have to provide some leadership if the Cowboys hope to have any success up front this year.

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