The last major issue with the structure of the organization comes with their haphazard treatment of the salary cap. No one over spends on their own talent more than Jerry Jones. We touched on some of the pointless extensions given to WR’s such as Roy Williams and Miles Austin in Sunday’s column but it doesn’t stop there. Using 2006 as the barometer once again, the Cowboys have given costly extensions to THIRTEEN different players that were released after getting paid without every fulfilling the contract extension. This practice will continue this year as Miles Austin is all but gone. There is also serious contemplation in regard to releasing DeMarcus Ware, primarily because the Joneses have messed up the cap so badly with these other players, they have asked Ware to restructure his deservedly earned deal three straight years and now owe him $25 million over the next two years.
Unfortunately, it’s a continual issue that will not end if and when Austin and Ware are no longer Cowboys. With Dallas over the cap by close to $30 million, how do you think they will find themselves under the cap? Tony Romo, Sean Lee and Brandon Carr, all recent recipients of major long term deals will restructure said deals robbing the future to fix the present. So, if Carr’s drop in play last year was not an aberration and instead a harbinger of things to come, instead of his deal becoming more and more palatable to get out from underneath, Dallas will hit themselves with double whammy of releasing an under-performing, supremely salary cap detrimental player.
Are the Cowboys in danger of losing a Dez Bryant or a Tyron Smith? Luckily, the answer is no because Jerry has no problem breaking out the checkbook to retain home grown talent. The issue becomes what effect those signings that are due right around the corner will have on adding supporting talent. Even if the Cowboys were somehow miraculously able to mimic the draft patterns of a team such as the Seattle Seahawks and acquire cheap yet phenomenal talent, chances are Jerry would become enamored with them and overpay them for no reason. You know, much like he did Jay Ratliff.
The good news is that all of these problem areas can be easily fixed without creating a losing product on the field. Dallas has their next Michael Irvin in Dez Bryant. Jason Garrett could be the coach of this team for several years to come. If Dallas employs a strategically conservative draft approach and focuses on known talent who played for major programs instead of constantly trying to find talent in obscurity or banking on injury-prone talent, the young talent may emerge. Bucking up and getting through the next couple of years without restructuring deals or creating dead money issues will free up the cap sooner rather than later.
It can be done… the question in Dallas is always will it be done?