Cowboys Restructure Contracts Of Austin, Cook; Eye Ratliff And Scandrick's As Well

Thearon W. Henderson

The Dallas Cowboys front office is continuing to chop away at the 2013 salary cap by restructuring deals of current players.

Well isn't this a fun day?

It seems that Owner/GM Jerry Jones and his Exec VP son Stephen were getting tired of other teams leading the NFL ticker. On the heels of restructuring four players to make room under the cap, the team has seemingly agreed to three more contract reworks to get the team further below the 2013 cap.

According to DallasCowboys.com beat writer Nick Eatman, the team has restructured the deals of WR Miles Austin and C Ryan Cook.

Following today's restructuring of Brandon Carr ($10.5m) Jason Witten ($3.65m), Mackenzy Bernadeau ($1m) and Nate Livings ($700k), along with DeMarcus Ware ($4m) yesterday, Dallas was already down to the vicinity of the proposed salary cap of $122m - $123m. With these additional two moves, Dallas is assuredly below the cap almost two full weeks prior to the start of the league year.

Eatman states that the Austin restructure will save about $3 million off the cap.

On the heels of the tweet from Eatman, separating the official restructures from the anticipated ones (Bernie+Livings), we got word from Clarence Hill Jr. that another big name was coming.

We tried to tell you he wasn't going anywhere over a first-offense DUI.

Apparently though, that's not the only move yet to come. When the media passed around the thought that the Cowboys restructures were all waiting on Ware, they weren't kidding. Next player, come on down!

Scandrick, too? OK, this is just ridiculous. Already at the cap, add Austin, Cook, Ratliff and Scandrick to the mix and Dallas now has plenty of wiggle room in oncoming free agency. If Romo extends? Dallas could easily be looking at being $16 million or more under the cap; and that's without considering Doug Free, Dan Connor, Gerald Sensabaugh, Marcus Spears and Lawrence Vickers situations.

I know what a lot of you are thinking... What in the world does this mean for future caps? We don't know, but let's not pretend that the Cowboys front office are financial dummies. At this point, I'm prepared to just smile and keep it moving. Yes, I don't like the idea of restructuring Ratliff or Scandrick, but hey... I'm just a blogger. I'll assume there is a long term plan.

In this day and age, no one seems to be in dire cap hell anymore. Since none of these contracts are being extended (save for Romo), only Carr, Romo and to an extent Scandrick are signed to heavy deals past 2015. That means that the club should have the wiggle room to resign guys like Sean Lee (this year), Dez Bryant (next year), Bruce Carter (next), DeMarco Murray (next) and Tyron Smith(team option for '15).

Whew, I feel broke just thinking about all of those checks Jerry wrote today. Brandon Carr got one for $13.5 million less than a year after he cashed last year's signing bonus of $10 million. Not to mention 16 in between for about $85,000 each.

It must be nice to be on either side of that table over at Valley Ranch today.

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