On the heels of releasing LB Dan Connor and restructuring the deals of G Mackenzy Bernadeau and CB Orlando Scandrick, the Dallas Cowboys still had at least one more move to pull off. Word is now out that NT Jay Ratliff also had his deal restructure submitted to league offices, thus bringing the Cowboys under the $123 million salary cap in time for tomorrow's 4 PM eastern deadline.
Per Ft. Worth Star-Telegram's Clarence Hill, Jr., Ratliff's move will convert $3.66m of his base salary into a restructure signing bonus, thus saving the team about $2.93m off of the cap hit. Of course, like all other restructures, it will be applied evenly to the cap for each remaining year of Ratliff's contract.
[Note] It has just come to my attention, per ESPN's Todd Archer, that when players restructure their deals to move base salary to signing bonus, they do not actually get a "signing bonus" check. The money is still paid out over the game checks as if nothing happened, yet teams can prorate the money over the course of the contract. Maybe that was well known, but it was definitely news to me.
This is up for dispute, as Archer has relayed that "per Cowboys Jerry Jones has not written any checks". However, several sources also believe as I did originally, that checks are cut for the amount. Time for some more investigation.[/Note]
The Cowboys have now successfully gotten under the cap without any of the major cost-saving moves that they are most likely still considering. Tony Romo is still currently going into the final year of his contract and Anthony Spencer is still only on the books for 2013 as well. An extension to either player would significantly reduce total amount of allocated 2013 space. The team also could look to do something with players such as Doug Free, Marcus Spears and Lawrence Vickers.
Without additional moves, Dallas is entering free agency tomorrow with very little room to sign much of anyone, of any caliber.