With the league year set to kick off in less than two hours, and with less cap space to work with due to penalties enforced due to actions during the 2010 uncapped year, the Dallas Cowboys have to shed some salaries in order to attack like they want to.
It starts now, as word has come out that the team has released longtime cornerback Terence Newman, per several sources. The nine-year veteran had three years remaining on his contract. If the Cowboys designate him as a June 1st cap casualty, the move will save them $7.26 million per Todd Archer. If Newman was designated a post June 1 cut it would be $5.26 million.
Newman was the team's first round selection in 2003, fifth overall. Some may argue whether he ever reached elite status while in Dallas, he has been their best cornerback for years. Injuries have always been a problem with Newman, including 2011. The year ended with Newman being hurdled by multiple Giants players who should not have been able to out-athletic Newman, even at 33 years old.
Today's purge actually started with the release of K David Buehler, who spent most of last season on injured reserve. Buehler sat on the sideline and watched rookie kicker Dan Bailey boot him out of his main job with his outstanding performance; rendering obsolete Buehler's booming kickoffs and special teams ability as his major selling points. It appears that those were not worth $1.26 million and he became the first cap casualty of the day. Buehler was the team's fifth round selection in 2009.
Also in the twitter rumor mill is that the team is currently working on a long-term deal with FB Tony Fiammetta, to try and get his cap hit under the restricted free agent number of $1.26 million.
Consider this your open free agency thread. We'll update with news as it occurs.
15:34 ET: Per Calvin Watkins, Cowboys restructured Scandrick's contract, creating $4.72 million in cap space this year.
15:44 ET: Per Todd Archer, the Cowboys have also restructured Doug Free's contract. Scandrick and Free combined open up $8.56 million.
16:20 ET: Adam Schefter reports on Twitter that CB Brandon Carr will visit the Cowboys. Josh Ellis from dallascowboys.com: "The Cowboys will be schmoozing Brandon Carr at the stadium tonight."
16:28 ET: Clarence Hill tweets that FB Tony Fiammetta will test the market after not being able to agree to long term deal with Dallas
16:28 ET: Hill also tweets "Wide receiver Jesse Holley is also now a free agent. It is truly fourth and long for his career now"
16:34 ET: Schefter tweets that Kyle Orton is expected to visit Dallas.
16:34 ET: Jason LaConfora tweets that Laurent Robinson will visit with Jacksonville.