Are Restructured Contracts a Ticking Time Bomb For The Cowboys?

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September 18, 2011; San Francisco, CA, USA; Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones talks with wide receiver Dez Bryant before the start of the game against the San Francisco 49ers at Candlestick Park. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Reid Hanson, Staff Writer – They certainly aren’t setting themselves up for success. The Cowboys have long had an inexcusable fear of the unknown and chosen to overpay for an average team rather than allowing the unproven players a chance to succeed. The results are bloated contracts with guaranteed money pushed to the back end when players are no longer performing as highly.

The cap is expected to increase more slowly in coming years under this new CBA. The cap floor is going into effect this season meaning free agents will be making a TON of money. The results of this will be seen in the coming years when Dez Bryant, Sean Lee, Bruce Carter, DeMarco Murray, and Tyrone Smith are free agents and looking for new ginormous contracts. They will see a booming (inflated) market and demand it all.

The Cowboys will be able to sign them but it will be at the expense of others. For every max contract you must eliminate a max contract. The Cowboys can keep whoever they want but they will now have some tough choices because of these dealings. Or they could just start playing young and unproven players like Crawford and Harris and let expensive starters Austin and Spencer walk. But I think we know what they will do.

Michael Vu, Staff Writer –  That’s a good question Stefan. My question is this: with all the contracts being restructured, who exactly is getting uncomfortable as GM Jerry Jones promised? Let’s see, this team finished 8-8 (again) and yet, the same players are coming back. Obviously you bring back Jason Witten, DeMarcus Ware, and Brandon Carr. I would have liked to have seen some new fresh blood. So in my opinion, the Cowboys should have let go Miles Austin, Ryan Cook, Jay Ratliff, Orlando Scandrick, Bernadeau, Phil Costa and yes, Anthony Spencer.

So yes Stefan, the Cowboys are setting themselves up with failure by wearing their yearly band-aid.

Brad Austin, Senior Writer – I kinda have to go ‘yes’ and ‘no’ on this one. Yes, they are limiting what they can do in free agency every year to some extent. It’s not likely to see any Cowboys team begin the off-season $20 mil under the cap without contract adjustments as some other teams do. On the other hand, these contracts were set up in advance with the likelihood of all these restructures being exercised when needed.

Stephen does an excellent job at composing contracts with future finances in mind. He analyzes the coming years and creates each contract’s structure in strict accordance to what will be on the books for each following year. Sounds improbable to plan such complexity with any true accuracy, yet it isn’t as mysterious for a man with his skill-set and experience at forward financing in the NFL. Even these new restructures are carefully organized according to other concerns in the future years, just as if they were new contracts without any history.

Renny Mason, Staff Writer – Good question Stefan. Most times when a team restructures a player’s contract, it’s like lazy dusting. You are certainly moving the dust around, but by no means are you eliminating the dust. In order to restructure a player’s contract, most teams will take the player’s base salary that year (their cap number) and convert that hit into a signing bonus that spreads across the remaining contract.

It helps the team in the present by moving the money back, but the money owed to the player does not simply disappear. The team will have to be very creative in the coming future, in order to keep some of their core young players around. Key players like Dez Bryant, Sean Lee, DeMarco Murray and Bruce Carter ALL have expiring contracts in the next two seasons (2013 and 2014). So the money they are pushing back now could very well affect the future of these young cornerstone.

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