Dallas Cowboys fans have waited patiently for the first domino of the offseason to fall. With the legal tampering period and the official start of free agency taking place early next week, the front office faced pressure to get under the cap by March 14.
The decision to franchise tag Tony Pollard didn’t help matters, as it added $10.06 million to the pot after they were already $7 million over.
Luckily, there are multiple pathways to creating more cap room, including releasing players, extending players, and restructuring contracts.
While everyone waits to see whom ends up on the chopping block, the Cowboys went ahead and restructured the contracts of Dak Prescott and Zack Martin, per ESPN’s Todd Archer. This frees up upwards of $30 million, and puts the team well below the cap with time to spare.
Per Archer, the Cowboys converted $29 million of Prescott’s salary and $12 million of Martin’s salary into a signing bonus.
How much cap space do Cowboys have after they restructured Dak Prescott and Zack Martin?
While significant, these moves shouldn’t mark the end of the Cowboys’ quest to manufacture more cap relief. Even with this newfound $30 million, they only have $15.55 million at their disposal, according to Over The Cap.
Those funds can be used to re-sign a free agent (Donovan Wilson, anyone?) or agree to terms with an outside free agent, but it’s nowhere near enough the front office needs to carve this roster into a championship contender.
It’s not far off from that threshold, but Dallas needs an impact receiver.
For context, rumored trade target DeAndre Hopkins is owed $19 million in 2023 and has a $29.98 million cap hit. That will surely be adjusted, but it does offer some perspective about how much farther the Cowboys need to go in terms of creating more flexibility. Even Odell Beckham Jr. is expected to command north of $12 million per year.
This also doesn’t rule out a Prescott extension. The organization has spoken at length about doubling down on Dak as their quarterback, and Prescott himself is open to the idea. The fact he signed off on this restructure proves he’s willing to make ends meet for the betterment of the team.
Archer noted on Twitter that Michael Gallup could be the next player to have their contract restructured. Doing so would save the Cowboys $7.8 million against the cap, and the team believes Gallup will bounce back in 2023.
Stay tuned, folks. The party is just getting started.