**Cowboys Update**- As reported by espn.com, Demarcus Ware has agreed to restructure his contract with the Cowboys. The restructure of Ware’s contract will save the ‘boys $4 million as they begin to restructure the first of many contracts to get out of the $20 million deficit the team has against the salary cap.
Dallas Cowboys VP/Director of Player Personnel Stephen Jones stated this past week that the Cowboys not only need to clear $20 million dollars to get under the salary cap but their biggest area of need is safety.
Arguably the player that I would vote to be released as soon as possible is Doug Free. He is due to make $7 million in 2013 and his play in 2012 was far below the expectations of coaches and fans alike. It seemed like he was getting paid per penalty. Allow Jeremy Parnell to take the guard spot and don’t worry about trying to move Free to tackle. He has already proven he doesn’t have the discipline to be worth $1.2 million from his play in ’12 much less the $7 million he is due.
Another possible cap casualty is Dan Connor; Connor is set to make $3 million from his 2 year contract signed with the Cowboys. Connor filled in well during the last part of the season playing linebacker but with the need to get down their salary cap numbers, he may be gone unless he is able to be resigned to a restructured contract.
Cowboy’s management still has to work out a long term deal with Tony Romo and Anthony Spencer. Spencer will not be cheap considering his play this past season. It is my thinking that the Jones’ will wait until after the draft to work out a deal with Romo. They also have to work on restructuring deals with Brandon Carr, Jason Witten, Demarcus Ware, and Miles Austin so they can inch closer to knocking out the $20 million difference.
Dallas has the problem of safety to address as well, Gerald Sensabaugh will probably be released before March 12th because of he will be due $3 million but if the Cowboys cut him, they only save $1.4 million during the season but will save the cash he is owed for being on the roster at the start of the league new year. Either way, Sensabaugh wasn’t quite the contributor this past season as he had no interceptions despite having 62 tackles. With a strong draft coming for safeties, Barry Church coming back early from his Achilles tendon injury, and the money he is due Sensabaugh could be a goner from the roster. It has been reported that the Cowboys have spoken with Texas’ Kenny Vaccaro, who is considered one of the top safety prospects.
The Cowboys also have Matt Johnson on roster as a safety but according to several reports, he is not going to be released because the coaching staff likes his potential playmaking ability. He didn’t play a down last season due to hamstring injuries but if you can catch the coaching staff’s attention like Johnson then he only has training camp to earn himself a spot. The other upside for Johnson is that he only counts $480,000 against the salary cap.
As always, the Cowboys have their work cut out for them in the coming weeks. With the March 12th date looming closer and closer, tough decisions will have to be made. The coaching staff has been seen working on evaluating the talent from the NFL Combine. I will say they were treated to some fast 40 times with Chris Johnson’s 4.24, Marquise Goodwin’s 4.27, and three players all running 4.34 including Texas A&M’s Ryan Swope, West Virginia’s Tavon Austin, and Auburn’s Onterio McCalebb.