Dec 16, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys tight end Jason Witten (82) runs after a catch against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Cowboys Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Recent Contract Moves Give These Cowboys Some Life

With the Dallas Cowboys being over the salary cap by roughly $20 million something drastic needed to happen. Either a whole slew of players needed to be cut or some of the bad contracts owner and general manager Jerry Jones needed to be restructured. The former was going to put an already mediocre team into a semi-rebuilding mode. If you think an 8-8 finish was bad, just imagine how bad it would have felt to have a season like the Kansas City Chiefs had. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I don’t think I could have handled one more bad game this past season.

In an effort to obviously keep a talented core without being completely destitute, a whole slew of contracts were reworked to help get the Cowboys under the salary cap. There wasn’t enough done yesterday to make Dallas a big player in free agency, but at least they did something proactive.

Dec 16, 2012; Arlington, TX, USA; Dallas Cowboys cornerback Brandon Carr (39) celebrates an interception with tight end Jason Witten (82) in overtime against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Cowboys Stadium. The Cowboys beat the Steelers 27-24 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Carr, DeMarcus Ware, Jason Witten, Miles Austin and Ryan Cook, the Cowboys are under the $123 million NFL salary cap. As it sits today Dallas is roughly $5 million under the salary cap. That’s not near enough to afford to franchise Anthony Spencer, and unless he’s willing to sign a team-friendly contract, he’ll be playing elsewhere in 2013.

According to an article by Todd Archer from ESPN Dallas, there are still contracts that can be reworked so Dallas can get even more wiggle room. Jay Ratliff and Orlando Scandrick’s contracts can give the Cowboys another $3.8 million if they are restructured. That still doesn’t give the Cowboys enough cap space to do anything substantial, so more drastic moves need to be made.

A thing to note is the cap space the Cowboys have created so far includes Doug Free and his roughly $10 million cap hit as well as the final year of Tony Romo’s deal that would count roughly $16 million against the cap. Everyone has been screaming for Free to be cut, and with the emergence of Jeremy Parnell, one would think it’s not far away. Along the same lines, if Romo and the Cowboys can get a long-term deal done, then Dallas has an even better chance of getting some key pieces that can hopefully help compete next season.

The sad thing is, until Jerry can find away to put his pride aside and quit chasing the shiny jewel on the free agent market this situation is going to be a yearly ordeal. Is there any hope in the distance? Time will tell.

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