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Salary Cap consequences of cutting Doug Free

Since I was involved in a discussion that involved the consequences of what will happen to the Cowboy's salary cap depending upon whether Free is his cut/kept, I wanted to put together a detailed description of the various scenarios.

The followings numbers are based upon Free's contract information found here. Free currently has $10M in pro-rated bonuses that have yet to hit the Cowboy's salary cap. His 2013 base salary in $7M and it is $8M for the next 3 years.

A detailed discussion on cap numbers and cap hits was produced by OCC and found here. Based upon OCC's writeup, the key thing about a June 1st cut is that the pro-rated bonus does not necessary get split 50-50 (I was never sure on that). This is illustrated in OCC's chart under "June 1 cuts."

Based upon those numbers and how the cap works, this is what I have determined as to what Free will cost if he is cut/kept. Please let me know if I missed something, and I'll correct it.

Cut Free in 2013 (prior to June 1st)

$10M against 2013 salary cap.

Total cost: $10M

Free's current cap hit is $10M in 2013, which means that the Cowboys would be cap neutral if Free is cut in 2013.

Cut Free in 2013 (June 1, 2013 cut)

$3M against 2013 salary cap.

$7M against 2014 salary cap.

Total cost: $10M

Free's current cap hit is $10M in 2013, which means that the Cowboys will be $7M better in 2013, and have $7M in dead money against the 2014 cap.

Keep Free in 2013 (cut prior to June 1, 2014)

$10M against 2013 salary cap. The $10M is $7M base + $3M pro-rated bonus.

$7M against 2014 salary cap. The $7M is $10M pro-rated bonus - $3M (paid in 2013)

Total cost: $17M

Keep Free in 2013 (June 1, 2014 cut)

$10M against 2013 salary cap. The $10M is $7M base + $3M pro-rated bonus.

$3M in dead money against 2014 cap.

$4M in dead money against 2015 cap. The $4M is $10M pro-rated bonus - $3M (paid in 2013)-$3M (paid in 2014)

Total cost: $17M

Keep Free in 2013 and 2014 (cut prior to June 1, 2015)

$10M against 2013 salary cap. The $10M is $7M base + $3M pro-rated bonus.

$11M against 2014 salary cap. The $11M is $8M base + $3M pro-rated bonus.

$4M against 2015 salary cap. The $4M is $10M pro-rated bonus - $3M (paid in 2013) - $3M (paid in 2014)

Total cost: $25M

Keep Free in 2013 and 2014 (June 1, 2015 cut)

$10M against 2013 salary cap. The $10M is $7M base + $3M pro-rated bonus.

$11M against 2014 salary cap. The $11M is $8M base + $3M pro-rated bonus.

$3M in dead money against 2015 cap.

$1M in dead money against 2016 cap. The $1M is $10M pro-rated bonus - $3M (paid in 2013) -$3M (paid in 2014) - $3M (paid in 2015)

Total cost: $25M

Keep Free in 2013-2015 (cut prior to June 1, 2016)

$10M against 2013 salary cap. The $10M is $7M base + $3M pro-rated bonus.

$11M against 2014 salary cap. The $11M is $8M base + $3M pro-rated bonus.

$11M against 2015 salary cap. The $11M is $8M base + $3M pro-rated bonus.

$1M against 2016 salary cap. The $1M is $10M pro-rated bonus - $3M (paid in 2013) - $3M (paid in 2014) - $3M (paid in 2015)

Total cost: $33M

Keep Free in 2013-2015 (June 1, 2016 cut)

$10M against 2013 salary cap. The $10M is $7M base + $3M pro-rated bonus.

$11M against 2014 salary cap. The $11M is $8M base + $3M pro-rated bonus.

$11M against 2015 salary cap. The $11M is $8M base + $3M pro-rated bonus.

$1M in dead money against 2016 cap.

Total cost: $33M

Keep Free in 2013-2016

$10M against 2013 salary cap. The $10M is $7M base + $3M pro-rated bonus.

$11M against 2014 salary cap. The $11M is $8M base + $3M pro-rated bonus.

$11M against 2015 salary cap. The $11M is $8M base + $3M pro-rated bonus.

$9M against 2016 salary cap. The $11M is $8M base + $1M pro-rated bonus.

Total cost: $41M

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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