Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick will be suspended for the first four games of the 2014 season, owner Jerry Jones told reporters (via a tweet from Charean Williams of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram). Jones clarified that the 27-year-old will be suspended for PEDs (via Williams’ Twitter). Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer talked to Scandrick (Twitter link), and the player attributed the positive test to something he took in Mexico. However, sources tell NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (via Twitter) that Scandrick will be suspended for a recreational drug, not a supplement.
A fifth-round pick in 2008, Scandrick has established himself as one of the team’s premier defensive players. He finished 2013 with career-highs in tackles (64), passes defended (12) and interceptions (two). Pro Football Focus’ advanced metrics (subscription required) ranked Scandrick as the Cowboys’ fourth-best defensive player last season, and he also finished as a top-2o pass-coverage cornerback.
Scandrick’s absence will certainly hurt a defensive unit that was among the league’s worst in 2013. ESPNDallas.com’s Calvin Watkins tweets that the team’s likely starting cornerbacks are Morris Claiborne and Brandon Carr. The duo was solid last season, but it’s unreasonable to expect them to match Scandrick’s presence in the secondary.
Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com takes a look at how much the suspension will cost Scandrick. The cornerback will forfeit $670,882 of his signing bonus and $176,471 of his base salary. As Fitzgerald notes, the player’s contract restructuring in March actually helped the player. Had the team not converted $3.375MM of his base salary into a signing bonus, Scandrick would have had to forfeit an additional $700K.