Dallas Cowboys are short on bang for the 2020 buck

Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /

Dallas Cowboys wasted cap funds leave little bang for the buck

It’s painfully obvious the Dallas Cowboys have a laundry list of key starters and bloated contracts sitting at home on gamedays. Many millions in salary cap funds are spread over 14 players designated to a reserve list rendering them unavailable.

All but three of those 14 sidelined players are considered starters or heavy contributors. Which means twenty percent of their ideally projected gameday roster is not even in the stadium. Injured players rarely attend due to COVID protocols.

It’s easy to point out the most glaring absences. Dak Prescott, Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, etc. However, viewing it from a nameless, purely financial perspective adds another layer to how dire the roster situation truly is.


According to Spotrac.com, Dallas has $103.8 million worth of invested salary cap available to play at the moment. The Cowboys total invested cap is $190.5 million. Thus, only a paltry 54.5% of the team’s invested cap is available to play football.

Approximately $61.7 million is wasting away on one reserve list or another. $23.3 million is allocated as useless dead money from cancelled contracts. $1.7 million is invested in the practice squad, which serves a good purpose. At least $85 million of salary cap usage is not helping Dallas seek victory on the field.

How does such a value deficit translate into results? Below are the bottom five NFL teams in terms of lowest invested cap amount available for gameday.

  1. Jacksonville (1-11) – $86.0 million
  2. New York Jets (0-12) – $99.6 million
  3. Dallas (3-9) – $103.8 million
  4. Carolina (4-8) – $104.5 million
  5. Denver (4-8) – $107.8 million

The five teams with the least invested salary cap funds available on gameday have a combined record of 12-48. Four teams are dead last in their respective division. A winning record is not found until the 10th lowest (Tennessee) salary cap usage.

In the NFC East division, the Cowboys are significantly short-handed. Washington ($137.3 million) has $33.5 million more ready to take the field. Philadelphia ($142.1 million) boasts $38.3 million more available to help. While the New York Giants ($142.5 million) hold a $38.7 million gameday advantage over Dallas.

Yes, Dallas is in last place in their division. It’s also correct that a sizable chunk of wasted cap belongs to poor management and cancelling multiple failed contracts.

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Strictly by the numbers and in conclusion, the Cowboys absurd amount of invested cap ($85 million) not available for use on gameday dictates they should be exactly where they are in the NFC East division … last place.