Bernadeau had been rehabbing his injured hip during the team's offseason workout program and could miss 10-to-12 weeks, Archer notes. That time frame would keep him out for the entirety of OTAs (which run from May 22 to June 7), the voluntary minicamp on June 12 to 14 and possibly the first few weeks of training camp.
A 2008 seventh-round pick out of Bentley College by the Carolina Panthers, the 6-foot-4, 308-pound Bernadeau was inactive as a rookie before starting 20 of 47 games over the last three seasons. Bernandeau had just one start in 2011, but was signed by the Cowboys to a four-year, $11-million contract, with $4.75 million in guarantees, and was expected to start at right guard.
Missing OTAs, minicamps and possibly the start of training camp could derail those hopes and opens the door for 2011 draft picks David Arkin, Bill Nagy and undrafted rookie free agent Ronald Leary to impress the coaching staff.
Leary played left tackle at Memphis and was regarded as a mid-round prospect, but concerns over how a degenerative condition in his left knee would affect his long-term prospects caused him to fall out of the draft completely. The Cowboys thought Leary had the ability to step in and play right away, so they gave him a $9,000 signing bonus and guaranteed $205,000 of his $390,000 base salary in order to a sign him as a priority free agent, a source with knowledge of his contract said.
Bernadeau is due a $1 million base salary in 2012, but has a $250,000 de-escalator clause tied to his completion of the offseason workouts and could wind up playing for $750,000 this season.