With a 10-game suspension hanging over his head, Rolando McClain might end up playing zero games for the Dallas Cowboys this season, as the team is considering releasing him and be done with the troubles.
McClain has a $4 million salary for the 2016 season, and he’ll be losing about $2.35 million of it due to suspension. The Cowboys can also take back $450,000 out of McClain’s $750,000 signing bonus, which means that if McClain comes back at the end of the season and plays, the Cowboys will only pay him roughly $1.2 million. The Cowboys are in no rush to cut him because of cap ramifications, and also because he doesn’t count against roster space while he’s suspended.
Jerry Jones, the team owner, is a big fan of McClain, and talked him out of retirement in 2014. However, he’s been “rewarded” by McClain being suspended in 2015 for the first four games of the season, and now 10 more games in 2016. Releasing him also means the Cowboys can’t recoup part of the salary they don’t have to pay him due to the suspension during this season, making it worthwhile to keep him despite missing more than half the season.
The bigger problem is finding someone to fill in for him on defense. The Cowboys aren’t very deep at middle linebacker, yet they haven’t been scouring the lands for an outside option, only Justin Durant being mentioned as someone who could come from the outside. Within the team, Anthony Hitchens seems like the most likely player to see extended time at MLB with McClain serving the 10-game suspension.