I did a bunch of looking at contracts on Rotoworld, and I have a pet theory about what Dallas will do this offseason.
This is predicated on a few things:
1) Rotoworld's numbers and my interpretations of the CBA. If either of these are off the whole thing may be moot. There are other numbers out there which disagree with mine.
2) Dallas not going after any FA linemen. That may not fly. Then again, if they trust their young guns and their draft board, maybe they're ok with this.
3) Greg Jennings thinks Green bay won't want him back.
Now this last one is huge, but before I get back to it, let me set the scene. Dallas, by my estimation, can get down to the cap by extending Romo and restructuring Carr. By cutting Weems, Kemp, Connor, Vickers, and Cook, while designating Free as a June 1 cut, we keep Ratliff and Austin and give ourselves about 8.7m to play with. If Ernie Sims will take vet min for a year (cap hit 540k, because of the min salary benefit) and Orie Lemon signs for , say 2 years, 2million with a moderate bonus, we can get good ILB depth for about 1.2m, leaving us 7.5m for the biggies.
With 7.5m dollars, is there any way we can get both Anthony Spencer *and* Greg Jennings in here?
Let's tackle the harder and more important one first. Spencer is due a big pay day. We're paying him 8.865m this year. But let's judge against a (superficially) similar guy-- Ahmad Brooks. His 1st year Salary cap hit is about 2.75m. If we keep everything else the same as Brooks' contract and double the signing bonus and raise the first year to 1m even, it still comes to about a 5m hit on the first year. Do you think Spencer would go for 6 years, 47m with 16.5m guaranteed and a 15m signing bonus? Now, because the contract will be coming a year later for Spencer, let's say we make it 5 years instead of 6-- the prorate on the signing bonus is exactly the same. So at 5 years, 40million (leaving off the last year of Brooks' contract), with 16.5m guaranteed, and a 15m signing bonus, we get Spencer for a 5m hit to the 2013 cap.
Now the wild card-- Greg Jennings is coming off a second year in a row with reduced production due to injuries. He doesn't seem to think that Green bay will retain him (and with Nelson, Cobb, and James Jones, you can see why). Now, I don't know about you, but a 29 year old receiver with back to back injury seasons doesn't just scream "gotta have" to me. BUT, he's certainly a great receiver, Jimmy Robinson knows him, and Garrett is on record as liking his game. In fact when asked which WR he'd like to have drafted but didn't get to, Garrett said Greg Jennings.
The question is, what do people think he's worth, coming off a career worst season. With only 4 games started, and 7 games total played, Jennings is averaging roughly half as many yards per reception in 2012 than he has for his (otherwise very consistent) career. Maybe he'd take a short, moderately lucrative deal in the hopes of showing he's still got it? say, two years, 9m, with a 2m singing bonus and the first year a guaranteed 1.5m? The second year, he could make 5.5m with the boys and then still be a free agent at a moderately young 31. If he doesn't work out, Dallas could cut him in the second year with no problem-- they'd save 4.5m off the 2014 cap.
So this defense with Ratliff and Spencer back, Sims and Lemon backing up Bruce Lee, and being able to put Dez, Austin and Greg Jennings out there when we go three wide? Whatdya think? Is it worth standing on the yuglies plus the 2013 draft?