The Dallas Cowboys have reached an injury settlement with G Nate Livings, and as such have released the player from their roster. Livings is trying to recover after a second knee surgery this offseason.
Dallas put Livings on injured reserve earlier in the week after he initially made the club's 53 man roster. The injury settlement is for three weeks, which indicates the time frame when a player is expected to be able to return to active duty.
In the move, the Cowboys have provided themselves with a couple options, further proving their adeptness at navigating the CBA.
Nate Livings entire 2013 salary was guaranteed, $1.7 million and his cap hit for 2013 is $2.4 million. That includes the prorated portion of his signing bonus ($700k per year, four years remaining on his original 5-year, $18.75m deal). That made me initially assume that there was never going to be a reason for the Cowboys to release Livings; if he was ever able to be healthy on the season and you have to pay him this money, you might as well retain the asset. I have been proven wrong.
The Cowboys could have designated Nate Livings as "returnable" IR, which means that after six weeks, he'd be eligible to return to the team. They would have up to two weeks of allowing said player to practice before having to place him on the 53 man roster.
What they instead chose to do is pay Livings for three weeks ($300,000) of service. If another team chooses to sign Nate Livings to their team, the Cowboys would only be responsible for the difference between the $1.4m remaining to pay him, and his new contract. As his new contract would not be guaranteed (signed post-Week 1) I believe Dallas would again be on the hook should a new team release him. Fun times, I know.
The team has also released injured DT Travis Chappelear. Chappelear was on the IR from the preseason.
Since Dallas has guaranteed all of Livings contract already, the team would be free to sign him after the November 3rd game against the Minnesota Vikings. It would cost them no additional money at that time.
So basically, the Cowboys don't see a need to keep Livings, and they've allowed themselves the chance to be relieved of some of his guaranteed money if another club should be interested in him after the three-week period of his injury settlement.
Regardless of what happens for the rest of this season, the club will feel a $2.1m cap hit of dead money on the 2014 cap. As it is already past June 1st, no monies from future cap hits can accelerate onto the 2013 cap.
So, to summarize:
- Dallas' 2013 Cap Hit for Livings: Still $2.4m
- Dallas' 2014 Cap Hit for Livings: $2.1m of "dead money"
- Dallas owed Livings $1.7m in guaranteed base salary for 2013
- Dallas has paid Livings for the first three weeks of the season, per the injury settlement: $300,000
- Dallas still owes Livings $1.4m for the remaining base salary for 2013
- Another team can sign Livings after Week 3
- Should another team sign him, the Cowboys would only pay Livings the difference between the remaining $1.4m and his new salary
- Should that scenario happen, Livings 2013 Cap Hit for Dallas would decrease the amount of his new deal
- The Cowboys will have to wait until after Nov 3rd for an unsigned Livings to return to the team, if they choose.In an attempt to get some savings, Cowboys make an interesting move.