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Cowboys clear cap room by trade; still unlikely to make splash in free agency

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So the Tuna is collecting some of his old players, in this case our very own Jason Ferguson. At least the Cowboys were able to get something for Fergy, even though it’s clear this was an effort to gain some cap space.  

The Cowboys are trading Ferguson to the Dolphins for a 2009 sixth-round pick, and the teams will swap sixth-rounders this year. Dealing Ferguson clears about $2.4 million on this year's salary cap.

Moving from the back of the 6th round to the front is not too bad, it will be nice to pick almost back-to-back in rounds five and six – with compensatory picks slid in between. Or maybe it will allow the Cowboys some more firepower to jump up in an earlier round to get someone they really want. And we get a 6th-round pick next year, which is nice. But clearly this was about the cap and about the Cowboys belief in Jay Ratliff AND Tank Johnson. Now, the Cowboys could go for a 3-4 NT in the draft that would allow them some flexibility along the line – yes, I would still like to see Ratliff at DE. That seems less likely now, but we’ll have to wait until the draft to divine Dallas’ true intentions.

It doesn’t look like the Cowboys will be major players in free agency this year besides our own guys and Zach Thomas. We are pushing up against the cap with all our recent moves, including the Flozell deal. The DMN blog says:

According to my capologist (Todd Archer), the Cowboys have about $2 million to play with after the flurry of moves in the last 24 hours (Adams signing, tenders to restricted free agents, Jason Ferguson trade).

That’s not a whole lot and we still have to worry about the rookie class from the draft. Akin Ayodele could be another casualty somewhere down the line.

I still haven’t seen an exact breakdown of the Flozell deal but it appears to be a reasonable contract not out of line with some of the better LT’s in the league. Of course, the six-year aspect was somewhat surprising but that was probably a case of spreading some of the impact over the long-term that will help the Cowboys. I'm not a contract or cap specialist but Stephen Jones seems to be very adept at keeping us out of salary-cap hell, so I’m trusting him on this one. You can read about the Flozell deal here and here.

ProFootballTalk , for all their flaws, is a good place to keep up with free agent signings.

Since we probably won’t be doing much in free agency, I thought I’d throw a new mock draft from Todd McShay at you.

  1. Dallas Cowboys (from 10-6 Cleveland) -- Mike Jenkins, CB, South Florida

Assuming owner Jerry Jones doesn't package picks to trade up, expect Dallas to use its two picks to address needs at corner, receiver, offensive tackle and possibly running back. Jenkins' combination of size, speed and athleticism is outstanding and his recognition skills continue to improve each season. Jenkins also brings versatility to the table as a cornerback who can also play some safety and chip in on returns if necessary.

  1. Dallas Cowboys -- Felix Jones, RB, Arkansas

If owner Jerry Jones can't strike a deal for McFadden, he could settle for Arkansas' other first-round running back prospect. Jones is a speedster who could complement current Dallas RB Marion Barber well and provide a home run threat in the return game.

I like this draft also. I liked the one with DRC and Felix Jones from Don Banks and I like this one. If we can pick up a top-flight CB and RB in round one, I’m happy.