Ratliff Rides to New Deal

The Cowboys and Jay Ratliff have agreed to stay married to each other a few more years.

Ratliff, a nose tackle that the Cowboys wanted to lock up, has been to multiple Pro Bowls and certainly deserving of a raise. The problem for Ratliff was threefold: (1) he had two years remaining on his current contract, at salaries of $3.75 million and $4.875 million; (2) the Cowboys have traditionally not addressed player contracts prior to the last year of their deals; and (3) he had reached the dreaded age -- for contract extension purpses -- of 30.

Considering the above, Ratliff and the Cowboys worked out a fair deal for both sides. The "new money" is $40 million over five addtional years for an $8 million average per year (APY). Including the "old money", the deal is seven years for $48.625 million for a $6.95 million APY.

The contract has $18 million of guarantees, which represents the bulk of the $18.625 million over the first three years. And Ratliff will pocket $11.625 million in 2011, almost $8 million more than he was scheduled to make.

Ratliff came into the league as a seventh round pick who was not invited to the Combine. He has certainly been a bargain and now catches up with other higher drafted players in his income stream.

Ratliff is the latest in the flurry of contracts around the league before teams and players settle in for the season. Look for another round of deals late in the year as teams use their remaining Cap room to extend ascending players.

The Cowboys-Ratliff union seems to be one that's working..

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