Chris Canty's Cowboy Future in Doubt

Dallas has until Friday to reach an agreement with free agent Canty.

Buried somewhat by the always present Dallas Cowboys drama (gag orders, T.O...), has been the future of unrestricted free agent Chris Canty. The 6'7", "304 lb." Canty is a prototypical defensive end for a 3-4 defense, and after a solid, but not spectacular year, he's looking to cash in.

The 3-4 is the trendy defense in the NFL right now, and with not a lot of other options available Canty figures to be a prized commodity. Dallas has until Feb. 27 to negotiate exclusively with Canty before the free agency window opens. It's believed that Canty is intent to hear what other teams have to offer, and his agent is dreaming big.

"We’d like to remain in Dallas," Canty's agent Brad Blank said. "But I don’t see how it’s going to work out with their number situation."

Canty is reportedly looking for a deal similar to the one Oakland gave Tommy Kelly last season. His deal, which was widely questioned, was for 7 years , $50 million -- about $18 million guaranteed.

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Up to this point, Canty has proven to be a great value for the Cowboys. As a fourth round pick four years ago, Canty has started the Cowboys last 48 games and never missed a game because of injury. If Dallas were able to get Canty to stay at a discount, he'll no longer represent the value he has been in the past. Most likely, his price will outweigh his performance.

Financially, resigning Canty may not make sense, but Dallas still has a tough decision to make even if it might mean overspending. Were the Cowboys to part ways with Canty the only defensive ends remaining on the roster would be Marcus Spears and the much less experienced Jason Hatcher and Stephen Bowen. Jay Ratliff could theoretically fill in, but that would really only shift the problem instead of solving it.

The position is too important to hand over to any rookie they may acquire in the draft, but even without a Plan B, Dallas shouldn't allow themselves to pay more than they feel Canty is worth. Unfortunately that means his days as a Cowboy may be numbered.

Wes Cox is a Dallas based blogger whose thoughts on the Mavs can be read daily at www.mavsmoneyball.com.

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