3 easy cuts Cowboys can make to save $18 million in cap space

Cowboys, Neville Gallimore. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
Cowboys, Neville Gallimore. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /
1 of 3

The Dallas Cowboys are currently $16 million over the cap after they franchise tagged Tony Pollard before Tuesday’s 4 p.m. EST deadline.

Pollard will make $10.09 million guaranteed next season, and that number goes right against the salary cap. While not ideal, $16 million isn’t a daunting number by any stretch. A couple contract restructures and roster cuts would not only put Dallas under the cap, but allow them to throw money around in free agency.

Time is not on the Cowboys’ side, however. The legal tampering period, when teams can negotiate with free agents begins March 13, and the new league year, when deals can be made official, gets underway just two days later.

This is all taking place next week, so let’s highlight some easy cuts the front office can make to create nearly $20 million in cap room.

3 easy cuts Cowboys can make to save $18 million

(Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
(Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images) /

3. Ezekiel Elliott ($10.9 million)

The Cowboys really need to make a decision with Elliott, because it’s downright painful to keep writing of him in such a negative light. Either rip the band-aid off and cut him, or inform the masses he’s coming back for a last dance.

By now, you likely know we’re in favor of cutting Elliott. Dallas already tagged Tony Pollard, which means they have $10.09 million committed to one running back. Even with Elliott back on a reduced salary — say $4-6 million — you’d be talking about upwards of $15 million owed to the position next season.

That just isn’t conducive to winning in today’s NFL.

Let’s frame it like this. The Cowboys paid Elliott $12.4 million last season. The Chiefs and Eagles — the two Super Bowl finalists — paid a combined $10.3 million for seven (!) running backs. Their starters, Isiah Pacheco and Miles Sanders, earned $1.225 million and $705,000, respectively, in 2022.

Dallas can save $10.9 million with $5.8 million in dead money by releasing Elliott with a post-June 1 designation. This would be a different conversation if Elliott was still productive and explosive in non-goal line situations, but 2022 proved that’s no longer the case.

Please, Cowboys, just make a decision already.