The Dallas Cowboys have a lot of soul-searching to do as far as addressing their roster this offseason. Their list of free agents is extensive, and they have multiple players coming into their own as stars who are almost due for contract extensions.
The Cowboys aren’t in a great place financially, but the NFL salary cap offers several loopholes to navigate bad contracts and poor roster decisions from previous years. As of this past weekend, Dallas was projected to be $7.6 million over the expected salary cap, per Spotrac.
Not exactly ideal given this roster could use a shake-up after the Cowboys failed to make it past the Divisional Round for the 27th straight year.
Luckily for Jerry Jones and the front office, though, the NFL’s salary cap has officially exploded relative to 2022 and previous seasons.
According to NFL Network, the 2023 salary cap will be $224.8 million per franchise. That’s a new record, and represents a significant increase from 2022’s $208.2 million number. For added context, the cap was as low as $182.5 million in 2021 (COVID year), and $198.2 million just three years ago in 2020.
What is the Dallas Cowboys salary cap for 2023?
The $244.8 million is a patently absurd number. It’s up $16.6 million for each club from 2022, and the Cowboys have the NFL’s new lucrative media deals, and the added 17th regular season game to thank for the bloated cap.
For example, Amazon is paying upwards of $1 billion for exclusive rights to Thursday Night Football, and the league’s other new media deals will kick in during the 2023 season. This confirms how well the NFL has rebounded from the unforeseen drop to $182 million during the pandemic-plagued 2021.
With the 2023 cap now set in stone, the Cowboys can begin brainstorming decisions about contract options, the potential termination of contracts, contract extensions (CeeDee Lamb, anyone?), and potential roster bonuses.
The Cowboys have until March 15 at 4 p.m. EST to get under the cap. At that point, signings and trades can be officially announced. As is always the case, Dallas can start negotiating with unrestricted free agents two days prior on March 13, while franchise tags can be applied starting on Feb. 21.
As of this writing, the Bears are projected to have the most cap space in the NFL at over $91 million, while the Saints project to have the least. Incredibly, New Orleans is currently projected to be over the cap by nearly $60 million.
The Cowboys currently slot No. 20 in terms of total cap space for 2023. While not ideal, there’s plenty of time for that to change.