On Tuesday night, free agent defensive tackle Henry Melton agreed to a one-year deal with the Dallas Cowboys. It is uncertain how much Melton will cost the team, but it’s estimated to be more than what Dallas currently has available in salary cap space. That still didn’t stop the team from agreeing to the deal. And if free agent defensive end Jared Allen decides to follow in Melton’s boot-steps, the cap apparently will not stop that signing either.
According to overthecap.com, the Cowboys currently have $7.6 million in salary cap space. And NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport tweeted that Dallas does not currently have the money available to sign Melton, let alone Allen. But David Moore of the Dallas Morning News doesn’t think that’s going to be an issue:
“A popular theory floating around is that the Cowboys don’t have the money to sign both players. That’s not true. The team had a little over $7 million in cap room before its deal with Melton. If they needed slightly more room and didn’t want to push too much money down the road, the club could restructure the contracts of a current player or two to sign Allen.”
The Cowboys restructured quarterback Tony Romo, linebacker Sean Lee and cornerback Orlando Scandrick’s contracts already this offseason in order to meet the league’s required cap limit by March 11th. It is widely known that the team puts restructuring language into all of their player contracts for this very reason. But it’s a bit like robbing Peter to pay Paul.
More restructuring means more bloated contracts, and more awkward situations like the one involving former Cowboy defensive end DeMarcus Ware. The franchise’s all-time sack leader’s statistical numbers decreased last season…as his age, injuries and salary all increased. Scheduled to make $26 million within the next two years, Dallas bit the bullet and released the veteran last week.
The question is: Is the soon-to-be 32-year old Allen worth the future financial sacrifice? He did average 15 sacks per season the last three years. But do the Cowboys think Allen can maintain that high level of production at his current age? He left Dallas on Tuesday to he’d back home to Minnesota in order to consult his wife on what his next step will be. If Allen decides that the Cowboys are his next team, money won’t be as big of an issue as we might have thought. Not until further down the line, anyway.
But the signing of Allen would seem to indicate a mental shift from last week’s decisions to move past aging stars Ware and defensive tackle Jason Hatcher. Both of whom are younger than Jared. But if Allen is willing to budge on the financials, unlike Ware and Hatcher, I could see Dallas making that deal.