What Will The Dallas Cowboys Do With Their Remaining Cap Space

Two weeks ago, Jason La Canfora of NFL.com published an overview of each team's payroll and how much room was left under the salary cap for the 2011 season.

At the time, the Cowboys had a total salary number of $116.7 million, which left them $6.7 million under the cap. Included in those numbers are Andre Gurode's contract as well as Orlando Scandrick's old contract. Gurode was set to make $5.5 million this year with a salary cap hit of $7.16 million. His release saves the Cowboys $5.5 million this year, bringing their total cap space to 12.2 million.

Scandrick signed a 6-year $28.2 million extension, the details of which are not yet known. For the sake of this argument, let's assume the Cowboys pay him his average annual salary of $4.7 million this year (the contract is probably lower this year and backloaded to some degree). Less his original $0.6 million salary for 2011, Scandrick would cost the Cowboys at most $4.1 million against the cap this year. In total, that leaves the Cowboys with at least $8.1 million in cap space for now. What will the Cowboys do with all that cap space?

[Edit: Todd Archer from ESPN Dallas reports the Cowboys have roughly $11.5 cap space available which they could carry over into next year]

The Cowboys currently have 14 players on the roster whose contracts expire after the end of this season. Should the Cowboys extend some of those players now and hope to get a great performance on the cheap, or wait until those players break out before re-signing them and risk overpaying in the process?

Below is the list of Cowboys players who'll hit some type of free agency next year either as unrestricted, restricted or exclusive rights free agents. The Exclusive Rights Free Agent (ERFA) are of no concern to the Cowboys right now, because unless the are released, they may only sign with the Cowboys in 2012, provided of course that the Cowboys extend a minimum qualifying offer to the player.

Player 2011 Base Salary Status 2012
Mat McBriar 1,700,000 Free Agent
Anthony Spencer 1,001,000 Free Agent
Montrae Holland 1,000,000 Free Agent
Orlando Scandrick 555,000 Signed 6-yr, $28.2 m extension
Martellus Bennett 555,000 Free Agent
Tashard Choice 555,000 Free Agent
Martin Rucker 555,000 Free Agent
Kevin Ogletree 480,000 Restricted free agent
Manuel Johnson 405,000 Exclusive rights free agent
Lonyae Miller 405,000 Exclusive rights free agent
Jermey Parnell 405,000 Exclusive rights free agent
Andrew Sendejo 405,000 Exclusive rights free agent
Jesse Holley 385,000 Exclusive rights free agent
Bryan McCann 385,000 Exclusive rights free agent
Teddy Williams 330,000 Exclusive rights free agent

Looking over this list, are there players you would like to see the Cowboys extend early, or would you adopt a wait-and-see approach, even it could mean shelling out big bucks next year?

Perhaps you would like to see the Cowboys invest their $8.1 million to extend other players on the roster? Felix Jones, Mike Jenkins, Jay Ratliff, Jason Witten, Stephen McGee and Victor Butler will all be free agents after the 2012 season. Perhaps the Cowboys could be looking to tie up one of these players early.

Or should the Cowboys invest that money somewhere else entirely?

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