What does this mean for this year and years beyond?
It means until Jerry and Stephen realize that you cannot keep doing this, the Cowboys will continue to be in a spot of trouble even if/when the cap continues to grow and grow as projected. See, Dallas likes to continue to “restructure” the already silly contracts they like to hand out which means they can never really get out from underneath them. Take for example, Tony Romo. Last year, the Cowboys signed their franchise quarterback for six years and $108 million (we can debate the amount of this contract another time, let’s just say he’s slightly overpaid). Because of the cap spiral they are in, Romo only saw a paltry $11 million or so of that in the first year, most of which came in the form of signing bonuses. The math isn’t hard to do to figure out the pain is coming. This year, Romo is scheduled to take home roughly double last year’s amount… but wait, here comes the Jones boys and their restructure… Now Tony restructures his contract for the good of the team, lowers that $22 to something around $10-12 and can you guess what happens next? As that cap goes up, so does Romo’s hit towards it. In 2015, he is supposed to have $25 million count towards the cap but now it’ll be more like $30+. All for someone who is only getting older.
In regard to the immediate competition, the other three divisional foes all have cap space moving forward to handle their impending quarterback contracts. RGIII’s contract is up next year as is Nick Foles’ but neither one of them will get a $100 million deal. As for Eli, his deal is up after 2015 also. I guarantee he’s not getting another big money, long-term deal at age 34 coming off his third league title as the king of interceptions with a young backup possibly ready to push for the starting gig. It is conceivable that 2016 will see the Cowboys paying their quarterback three times what the other three teams in the division are paying theirs for a guy who is almost ten years older than all of them.
Most importantly, how do we fix it?
The easy way out is to stop restructuring deals, take the comeuppance and start that process this year. Release Miles Austin which frees up approximately $6 million for 2015. Send Doug Free on his way after the season to save another $8 million. Offer DeMarcus Ware a “Doug Free” type pay cut with more respect to avoid getting stuck with $61 million of cap destruction. Say goodbye to Kyle Orton to save another $4 million and then do the absolute unthinkable…
DO NOT OVER PAY DEZ BRYANT, TYRON SMITH AND DEMARCO MURRAY!!!