Ratliff, Cowboys still talking extension

AP

Jay Ratliff can’t become a free agent until after the 2012 season, but the Cowboys are interested in extending their relationship with him beyond that point.

The team and Ratliff’s agent continue to hold discussions about a contract extension that would keep Ratliff in the middle of the Dallas defensive line for several more seasons. Mark Slough, Ratliff’s agent, met with the team on Wednesday at Valley Ranch. According to Brandon George of the Dallas Morning News, the two sides have made progress toward a new deal over the last week. The fact that Ratliff has so much time left on his deal is a stumbling block, however.

Ratliff signed his current contract — a five-year, $20.5 million deal — near the end of the 2007 season. He is set to make $3.75 million this season and $4.875 million next season, numbers that are a bit lower than other highly regarded starters at defensive tackle but Ratliff is coming off a down year.

Ratliff, who just turned 30, wasn’t as productive in 2010 as he had been in 2008 and 2009, although some of that was surely thanks to the overall difficulties the Cowboys had on defense last season. He had 3.5 sacks, down from a combined 13 over the previous two years, but those numbers could go back up in a hurry if Rob Ryan is able to get the Cowboys moving back in the right direction.