ESPN ran an article yesterday trying to assess the financial health of each NFL team in respect to the salary cap. The Dallas Cowboys actually rank as the team with the lowest amount of committed cash so far in 2014.
The Cowboys, conversely, have the NFL's lowest payroll at the moment ($106 million) after an offseason dominated mostly by subtraction.
... committed cash is the amount of money each team will pay its players this season. The latter is important, in part, because the collective bargaining agreement (CBA) requires each team to spend 89 percent of its cap space in cash over a four-year period.
The Cowboys would have a lot of cap space available at this moment except that they lead the league in dead money.
To varying levels of accuracy, dead money can be used to illustrate the efficiency of a team's roster-building plan. A high figure often means important decisions went wrong or that impatience and/or leadership change forced a course correction. The Dallas Cowboys have an NFL-high $23.2 million in dead money in part because they released linebacker DeMarcus Ware ($8.6 million) to get under the 2014 salary cap and parted ways with defensive tackle Jay Ratliff ($6.9 million) because of injuries.
Let's clear up some facts about the dead money. First off, the Cowboys did not release DeMarcus Ware to get under the cap. They were already $2 million under the cap when they made the move. They did it because they didn't think his cap number matched up with his production and because they wanted to create some room in free agency.
Second, they didn't part ways with Jay Ratliff because of injury. They parted ways with him because he basically refused to play for Dallas anymore. Ratliff had an amazingly quick recovery from a supposed injury once the Cowboys gave in and suited up for the Bears in short order. Everyone knows Ratliff got himself released because he wanted out of Dallas by refusing to play because of "injury." I guess you could claim technically it was injury, but let's state the real facts.
Anyway, the Cowboys now rank 13th in salary cap space. But as a good ESPN reporter, Todd Archer, noted, that money already has some designations including a couple of more rookie signings. Dallas also wants to extend Dez Bryant and Tyron Smith. I wouldn't expect any kind of spending spree, but I do think the Cowboys will bring in a vet or two during training camp.
Cap Space - $10,196,756
Dead Money - $23,199,516
Committed Cash -$106,037,627