In the wake of another disappointing 8-8 season, Cowboys fans are now singing another familiar verse from their annual winter blues:
"We’re screwed because we’re so far over the salary cap!"
The NFL cap in 2014 will be around $127.5 million. The Cowboys are currently $25 million over it. Guaranteed – like they do each spring – they will make moves to get under it and then some.
And, actually, it’s pretty simple.
Restructure the contracts of Tony Romo and Sean Lee, which will save about $13 million.
Restructure the contract of Brandon Carr, which will save about $5 million.
Restructure the contract of Jason Witten, which will save about $3 million.
That’s what? $21 million. Okay, little more work to be done.
Though it won’t provide immediate relief to the salary cap, look for Dez Bryant, Tyron Smith and even Dan Bailey to get contract extensions before or during training camp. But back to the math …
The big decisions will come on my two biggest disappointments of 2013 – veterans DeMarcus Ware and Miles Austin.
Ware is besieged by nagging injuries, coming off his worst NFL campaign and will turn 32 before next season. If the Cowboys decide to keep him and restructure his contract, it would save them $9 million and – presto –they’re below the cap. Or they could cut their losses with a declining player and release him, saving them $7 million.
Whichever direction they choose on Ware, the Cowboys will get under the cap. But that still leaves a huge contract decision on Austin. After another tragically inept season riddled with hamstring injuries and zero touchdowns, I predict Jerry Jones will finally admit the six-year, $54 million deal awarded to the receiver in 2010 was a colossal mistake and cut him in June, freeing up another $5 million.
So there, that’s $35 million in cap savings. From woe-is-me to $10 million to spend in a couple easy clicks.
Now, how the Cowboys spend that money is an entirely different – and legitimate - worry.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently writes a sports/guy stuff blog at DFWSportatorium.com and lives in McKinney with his fiancee, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.