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Cam Fleming deal indicates Cowboys see him as La'el Collins replacement

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  • Cam Fleming deal indicates Cowboys see him as La'el Collins replacement

    By: K.D. Drummond | 1 hour ago


    Cam Fleming came over to the Dallas Cowboys in the spring of 2018, direct from winning a Super Bowl with the New England Patriots. A backup swing tackle, Fleming got in the starting lineup and stuck at right tackle down the stretch of 2017 and started throughout the playoffs that year. Following that stint, he inked just a one-year deal with Dallas to be the swing tackle behind Tyron Smith and Laíel Collins.

    During the season, he started three games for the Cowboys in place of Smith, who once again suffered a few injuries along the way. Fleming acquitted himself nicely. There was a stark difference between him and Smith, but it was enough for Dallas to want him back in the mix for 2018. The two sides agreed on a two-year deal for $8.5 million. The average annual value was a big jump from 2018ís $2.4 million and now the details of the new deal seem to indicate what the Cowboys have in mind.


    According to Over the Cap, Flemingís contract is a one-year deal with a club option for 2020. The option has to be invoked prior to the start of the 2020 league year. Fleming got a $1.5 million signing bonus, which for cap purposes is spread out over both years of the deal.
    He receives $1 million in base salary for 2019 with game-day roster bonuses totaling $500,000 ($31,250 per contest).

    That puts his 2019 cap hit at $750,000 + $1,000,000 + $500,000 = $2.25 million.

    For those doing the math at home, that leaves $6.25 million of maximum cap hit in 2020. Ladies and gentlemen, thatís mid-level starting right tackle money.
    Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

    Collins enters 2019 on the final year of his three-year deal inked in 2017. He is going to count almost $10 million against the cap thanks to his signing bonus proration, his base salary, and a $2 million escalator he received after playing in 85 percent of the snaps in 2017 and 2018. He actually played in 2,144 of 2,145 possible offensive snaps, so he covered that pretty easily.

    Collinsí cap hit is the 10th-highest on the Cowboys, but just the fourth-highest on the offensive line, shining a glaring light on how much Dallas has invested in the line. That isnít healthy and not sustainable with the group of young stars Dallas will need to pay on each side of the ball. It would be wise in a game of musical chairs if Dallas went elsewhere in 2020. Itís not a foregone conclusion, but it seems like the right way to go.

    Dallas has locked in Fleming to be the heir apparent at right tackle next season.
    AP Photo/Roger Steinman

    Of his 2020 cap hit, $750,000 is locked in whether the Cowboys pick up the option year or not. Thatís from the signing bonus which is paid in 2019, but spread out over the two years. The same $500,000 in game-day roster bonuses exists for 2020 as it does for 2019. The base salary though, is a sizable bump, up to $4,000,000.

    The final $1 million is two-tiered and based on play-time incentives. If Fleming plays 60 percent of the snaps heíll get a bonus, then another if he plays 80 percent of snaps. Thatís clearly based on either starting tackle sustaining major injuries, or the staff getting tired of Collins at right tackle and looking to make a move. Either way, they will not count against this yearís in-season cap as they are categorized as not-likely-to-be-earned, since he didnít reach those benchmarks in 2018.

    Watching during 2018 training camp, Fleming looked like a much better right tackle than left. He can play both, but he appeared more in tune on the right side. If the Dallas coaching staff saw the same thing, they likely believe they can get comparable performance to what they have gotten from Collins. Collins has the better upside and that will likely come to the forefront during the 2019 season when he returns to an off-season program of familiar techniques. As much as we try to forget the Paul Alexander experiment, it was all the linemen were able to do from May through October.

    But hereís the rub.

    If Collins balls out, heís too expensive to keep based on how well right tackles are getting paid and Dallas already having a fortune sunk into Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin through 2023. If he doesnít ball out, Dallas has an in-house veteran replacement on hand.

    Now, this doesnít mean Dallas wonít draft the position, nor does it mean Collins canít return either. And of course built as an option year, the Cowboys can easily change their minds if Fleming doesnít continue to show them what could be their eventual starter. But now Dallas has a relatively inexpensive starter locked in for 2020, and they absolutely donít feel like they have to draft a lineman in this yearís draft, only needing to grab one where the value is too good for them to pass up.

    Well played, Dallas Cowboys.

    defense wins championships

  • #2
    Collins kind of sucks, I don't think Fleming starting at RT would be much of a downgrade, if any at all.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Simpleton View Post
      Collins kind of sucks, I don't think Fleming starting at RT would be much of a downgrade, if any at all.
      I'm all for finding a cheaper option at RT. Collins never became that great.

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Simpleton View Post
        Collins kind of sucks, I don't think Fleming starting at RT would be much of a downgrade, if any at all.
        We should move him back to guard. He was pretty dominant there. But Fleming is so great shakes, honestly.
        I was on the draft LVE train. I was for trading for Amari before it happened.
        'nuff said

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Cowboysrock55 View Post

          I'm all for finding a cheaper option at RT. Collins never became that great.
          Collins should never have been moved to tackle.
          2016 DCC LOTY Fantasy Football Champion

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Iamtdg View Post

            Collins should never have been moved to tackle.
            I agree plus I think Connor would make a better RT than guard but that ship seems to have sailed.

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