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Cowboys getting cap space for free agency

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Not only will Dan Campbell hit the open market, but it looks like Scott Fujita and Andre Gurode will too. Both have received offers, but that's about it. They may want to see what they can get and Dallas may take the opportunity to re-make a good part of the roster in the offseason.

From the DMN:

The Cowboys have exchanged proposals with the agents for Fujita and Gurode, but they have not made an offer to Campbell, their offensive captain last season. Whether any of the three returns to the Cowboys remains to be seen.

Fujita would seem to have the best chance of staying.

So why are the Cowboys waiting to sign their UFA's, or even planning to let them go? Well, according to Todd Archer, we could be in a pretty good position to be aggressive in free agency.

From the DMN again (sub. required)

If the cap is $94.5 million without a new deal, the Cowboys presently have $8 million to $10 million to spend, although they can easily acquire another $9.6 million with a simple restructuring of the contracts for Jason Ferguson and Marco Rivera.

If there is a new deal, the cap could move to as high as $104 million, and the Cowboys will have roughly $20 million of space and the same ability to create more room.

So we could be anywhere from $10 - $30 million under the cap when all is said and done. That's plenty of scratch to do damage in free agency. But we're still waiting on that damn CBA deal to get it all figured out.

Speaking of the CBA, Len Pasquarelli has his idea of what the dispute between the owners is all about. You can read the ESPN article here. The money paragraph follows, and the example used is the perennial cap abusers, the Redskins.

To understand the concept of cash over cap, one must understand that the salary cap is just a bookkeeping number, one that can be massaged by amortizing signing bonuses and with other mechanisms. The cap has never been indicative of a team's payroll. The Washington Redskins, believed to be the highest revenue producing machine in the league, have had payrolls well over $100 million the last few seasons, even though the highest salary cap level ever was in 2005, at $85.5 million.

For the fans who can't get their heads around how this works, here's a simple example: Let's say the Redskins signed an unrestricted free agent to a five-year deal that includes a signing bonus of $10 million and a base salary of $1 million for the first season of the contract. In salary cap terms, the Redskins are charged only $3 million, arrived at by prorating the signing bonus over five years and then adding the base salary. But in real dollars expended, or payroll, that player cost the Redskins $11 million for the first year. That's a difference of $8 million between what the player was actually paid and what his cap charge was for the initial season of the contract.

I don't fault the Redskins for gaming the system, but I sure would like to see the bill finally come due.