The 2014 Dallas Cowboys cap now and potential solutions.

There has been a lot of discussion about the Cowboys cap situation in the next few years. I wanted to take a closer look at it and see just how we seem to be set up. I will start by looking at 2014 and the players currently under contract. Those I don't expect to be here for the start of the league year in 2014 are first, then I will add in possible restructures, cuts for cap reasons and dead money.

Here is the list of the current 2014 cap hit according to Spotrac.

Player POS Base Salary Signing Bonus Other Bonus Dead Money Cap Figure
Tony Romo QB 13,500,000 5,000,000 3,273,000 -41,681,000 21,773,000
DeMarcus Ware LB 12,250,000 - 3,753,750 -8,776,834 16,003,750
Brandon Carr CB 7,500,000 2,000,000 2,717,000 - 12,217,000
Doug Free T 8,000,000 2,060,000 960,000 - 11,020,000
Jason Witten TE 5,000,000 2,500,000 912,000 - 8,412,000
Miles Austin WR 5,500,000 - 2,748,400 -7,853,600 8,248,400
Jay Ratliff DT 5,500,000 2,000,000 732,000 - 8,232,000
Orlando Scandrick CB 3,500,000 600,000 1,501,250 - 5,601,250
Morris Claiborne CB 1,868,591 2,567,182 - - 4,435,773
Nate Livings G 3,400,000 700,000 221,250 - 4,321,250
Kyle Orton QB 3,250,000 1,000,000 - - 4,250,000*
Tyron Smith T 2,079,013 1,897,018 - - 3,976,031
Mackenzy Bernadeau G 2,250,000 812,500 511,666 -2,648,333 3,574,166
Dez Bryant WR 1,780,000 390,000 978,500 - 3,148,500
Jeremy Parnell T 1,500,000 333,333 - - 1,833,333
Phil Costa C 1,500,000 225,000 - - 1,725,000
Bruce Carter LB 986,991 507,654 50,000 - 1,544,645
Barry Church S 1,000,000 500,000 - - 1,500,000
Justin Durant LB 1,250,000 200,000 - -200,000 1,450,000
Sean Lissemore DT 1,000,000 400,000 - - 1,400,000
L.P. Ladouceur LS 855,000 120,000 - -480,000 975,000
DeMarco Murray RB 755,469 165,500 25,000 - 945,969
David Arkin G 645,000 113,400 20,000 - 778,400
Nick Hayden DT 730,000 - - - 730,000
Tyrone Crawford DE 570,000 143,813 10,000 - 723,813
Dwayne Harris WR 645,000 27,650 10,000 - 682,650
Kyle Wilber LB 570,000 109,800 - - 679,800
Matt Johnson CB 570,000 75,146 - - 645,146
Brandon Underwood CB 645,000 - - - 645,000
Carlton Mitchell WR 645,000 - - - 645,000
Brian Price DT 645,000 - - - 645,000
James Hanna TE 570,000 26,213 - - 596,213
Cole Beasley WR 570,000 500 - - 570,500
Ben Bass DT 570,000 - - - 570,000
Cameron Sheffield LB 570,000 - - - 570,000
Lance Dunbar RB 570,000 - - - 570,000
Andre Smith TE 570,000 - - - 570,000
Darrion Weems G 570,000 - - - 570,000
Ron Leary G 570,000 - - - 570,000
Ray Dominguez G 570,000 - - - 570,000
Colin Cochart TE 555,000 - - - 555,000
Caleb McSurdy LB 495,000 14,850 - - 509,850
Donavon Kemp WR 495,000 500 - - 495,500
Nick Stephens QB 495,000 - - - 495,000
Tim Benford WR 495,000 - - - 495,000
Danny Coale WR 495,000 - - - 495,000
Charles Bryant T 495,000 - - - 495,000
Jared Green WR 495,000 - - - 495,000
Charley Hughlett LS 495,000 - - - 495,000
Ikponmwosa Igbinosun DE 495,000 - - - 495,000
Micah Pellerin S 495,000 - - - 495,000
Monte Taylor DE 495,000 - - - 495,000
Aderious Simmons G 495,000 - - - 495,000
Top 51 Contracts 100,525,064 24,490,059 18,423,816 143,438,939
101,515,064 24,490,059 18,423,816 143,438,939
Cap Space 0 + 0 + 0 - 143,438,939 = -143,438,939

* restructure, no details

Before the 2014 league year starts:

This includes some players I don't expect to make the team in 2013 at all. This is their base salary only.

Nick Hayden - $730k, Brandon Underwood $645k, Carlton Mitchell $645k, $570k, Andre Smith $570k, Ray Dominguez $570k, Colin Cochart $555k, Caleb McSurdy $495k, Donavon Kemp $495k, Tim Benford $495k, Charles Bryant $495k, Jared Green $495k, Charley Hughlett $495k, Igbinosun $495k, Micah Pellerin $495k, Monte Taylor $495k, Aderious Simmons $495k, Nate Livings $3.4M, Doug Free $8M, Mackenzy Bernadeau $2.25M.

I could add Brian Price, Nick Stephens. Dunbar, Tanner and Darrion Weems but I am going to let them stay as blind possibilities. Consider them placeholders for the UDFA types that happen to stick as their salaries are either the same, or close to it.

Now, just to cut those guys by the start of the 2014 league year will cut $22.815M off of our cap. Add up the dead $ from Free, Livings and Bernie, that is $12.4M. That leaves us with a total savings of $10.35M off of our cap hit. The total cap figure the Cowboys have right now on the books for 2014 is $143.4M. The new cap figure with these moves is $133M. So the Boys will still need to make a few more moves to get under the cap. Especially if they want Sean Lee to remain a Cowboy as he isn't included in this figure. Other FA's are Callaway, Jones, Albright, KK, McCray, Moore, Cook, Bailey, Allen, Sims, Spencer, Tanner, and Vickers. Of those I would like to see them keep Jones, Albright, Moore, and Bailey. Two or three others are possible depending on how they play this year like KK.

So what possible moves could the Boys be planning? They might choose to go ahead and extend Dez. He has a base salary of $1.78M next year and a cap hit of $3.148M. It would be tricky to get a deal to where his cap hit would go down, but it could be done. The same applies to Tron as it does to Dez except for his base being $2.07M and cap hit being $3.975M. If Rat has another bad year from injuries or any other reason he could be a cap casualty. His dead $ would be 6.92M which would be a savings of $1.3M off of his cap hit even without making him a June 1st cut. Miles could be cut be cut or traded if another WR steps up and makes him expendable. His dead $ would be $7.85 which would only save us $.39M if not a June 1st cut so I would only look at a trade. He is worth more than that playing for us. Romo could be restructured and save $12.5M. Likewise Ware could be restructured again and save $11.5M. Scandrick could be a cap casualty, but he would have to be a June 1st cut as his dead $ of $5.7M would be $100k more than his cap hit to keep him. Orton is another potential cap casualty. His being let go would save us $1.25M after eating the dead $.

Out of all those moves if we only cut Free, Livings, Bernie, Rat and restructure Romo our cap hit for 2014 would be $120.48M. That doesn't leave us enough to resign Lee or anyone else other than the rookie pool most likely.

Now, did you agree with my first round of cuts up there? If so do you agree that all but the last 3, the vet OL most likely won't make it thru training camp this year? If so cutting them by the end of training camp will save $6.4M on 2013's cap. This carried over to that $120.2M would drop our 2014 cap commitment to $113.77M. That is with no June 1st cut designations and only Romo restructured. The cap in 2012 was $120.6M, minus the $5M penalty. In 2013 the cap went up to $123M, again with a $5M penalty to the Boys which made it $118M. If the cap goes up in 2014 by less than it did in 2013, call it an even $125M, then the Cowboys under this plan would have $11.2M in space without resigning their own FA's, new FA's or the rookies.

I am going to add in a edit here. I am going to restructure Ware also. That frees up $11.38M, add that to the $11.2M I already have free and we have $22.58M open. I will use that to do some resigning of FA's that I didn't detail. First is to resign Lee. To give a rough idea of Lee's possible contract I will look at Navorro Bowman's. He just signed his a year ago, so it is pretty current. Bowman got 7 years $46.37M with a $7.5M signing bonus. His first year was at vet minimum, $540k with a signing bonus of $1,675,562 for a total cap hit of $2.215M. Add that in and we are up to $104.635M on our cap hit. Now add in some $ for Bailey, the top 10 K's are making from $2.1M to $3.8M. Only the top 4 make $2.5-$2.6 and only the Raiders K get $3.8. Since we aren't the Raiders I am going to budget in $2M for Darth Bailey, which will bring us up to $106.635M. I am going to put in a random $6M for other FA's we have resigned. Notice we have several in the $1M to $1.5M range like Lissy, Costa, Parnell, and Church. For $6M we can get 4-5 of our backups taken care of. I put it all this in as base salary, no bonus's except for Lee's. Now with our backup's and lower tier FA's kept we are up to $112.635M. Add in a estimated $6M for the rookie pool and we are up to $118.635 total cap hit for 2014. That is a projected $6.365M under the estimated cap ceiling. That gives us room to sign a few smaller FA's and have some breathing space going into the year.

Yes, there are numerous moves that can and most likely will be made that aren't listed here. Including Spencer's extension for the future, that is if he gets one. However I can't work with figures I don't have. I built in some room by leaving several young guys I don't expect to make it, or to make it on the PS. I have also ignored getting the $ back from Spears on June 1st. We will have to pay it next year anyway, so to me it is a wash. Under JG we have had roster churn throughout the year. I expect the same to continue in 2013, plus injury replacements will be needed.

Oh, since I mentioned videos of the Cheerleaders lockerroom. Here is one.

Another user-created commentary provided by a BTB reader.

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