Talking about adding players is moot until Dallas addresses serious salary cap issues
While most fans agree that the Dallas Cowboys need better talent along the offensive line, defensive line, and depth throughout the roster, the team seems limited in how to obtain the talent necessary due to the 2013 salary cap situation. The Dallas Cowboys currently have 57 players under contract with a total salary cap figure of $128,627,212.29 heading into the 2013 regular season (http://www.rotoworld.com/teams/contracts/nfl/dal/).
The salary cap is expected to be around $121 million in 2013 (NFL.com). The Cowboys will have $5 million less available than the other teams, reducing their salary cap to about $116 million.
That means Dallas is currently $12,627,212.29 over their proposed 2013 salary cap. The 10 Cowboys players with the highest salary cap hits in 2013 consume $81,112,593.62 of space. That amount is almost 70% of the available salary cap for 2013.
|Player||Position||2013 Cap figure|
Releasing any of those players will accelerate the cap hits in 2013. Depending on when those players are released, however, the money may either all be apportioned to the 2013 salary cap or be equally distributed between the 2013 and 2014 seasons.
The Cowboys also has unrestricted free agents that will likely hit the open market. Anthony Spencer heads the list of Dallas unrestricted free agents.
|Unrestricted free agents||Position||Minimum contract|
*Minimum exclusive rights salary cap figure for second consecutive year (120% of $8,856,000)
^Will likely command more than this amount in open market
If Dallas applies the exclusive rights franchise tag on Spencer for the second consecutive year, Anthony will cost an additional $10,627,200.00 against the 2013 salary cap. That would give the Cowboys a total salary cap charge of $139,254,412.29 for 2013: $23,254,412.29 over the proposed salary cap for the Cowboys.
An additional $4.58 million will likely be spent to keep the six unrestricted free agents listed immediately below Spencer, leaving Dallas more than $27.834 million over the 2013 salary cap. There are also restricted and exclusive rights free agents to whom the Cowboys may choose to tender an offer.
|Free agents||Type||Position||Minimum contract|
|Orie Lemon||Exclusive rights||ILB||$555,000|
Including the restricted and exclusive rights free agent contracts, the Cowboys will be roughly $29.82 million over the 2013 salary cap with 67 players signed. The rookie pool will be added after the 2013 NFL Draft.
The Cowboys can carry over any unused portion of the 2012 salary cap, which is sure to be minimal considering the unexpected volume of signings Dallas needed to field a team last season. Dallas will need to restructure many of the contracts of the top ten players counting against the 2013 salary cap.
Whether the team can save almost $30 million will depend on the ability of Stephen Jones. The situation is reminiscent of the position faced by the Cowboys following the retirement of Troy Aikman at the turn of the century, when the team found itself heavily constrained by past salary cap indiscretions. At least the Cowboys have their first round draft picks this time around.
It seems obvious that aside from possibly franchising Spencer, this team will not make any type of splash in free agency this off season. Maybe this is the "uncomfortable" environment Jerry Jones was talking about immediately following the season.