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Cowboys Have Salary Cap Space, But Not As Much As You Would Think

The Cowboys look like they have salary cap space, but the details say different.

Mark Wilson/Getty Images

Recently, we posted about Tony Romo restructuring his contract to create salary cap space for Dallas. It was reported it freed up $12.8 million for the Cowboys to use in 2015. Immediately some tried to equate that number with Adrian Peterson's contract number for 2015 and do some creative thinking with the upshot that Peterson would end up in Dallas. Our own Tom Ryle showed why that wasn't likely to happen.

In that article was also a discussion about how the Cowboys still need money to pay Greg Hardy. That contract rolls out week-to-week and the Cowboys needed money to cover it . But Dallas has plenty of other expenses to cover between now and the season, which is why their currently salary cap number will not hold up for long. As usual, Todd Archer does a great job of breaking it down. He has the Cowboys with $12.485 million in cap room right now (other estimates vary but are roughly the same). Sounds good right? Well, it's good but won't last.

As Archer notes, the Cowboys could owe Greg Hardy up to $8 million in roster bonuses as the season progresses. Throw in roughly $1.7 million for the draft picks, another million when all 53 men on the roster count instead of the top 51, and then you have the practice squad, injury settlements and the like and the money is spent. Good luck on fitting AP's contract in.

Dallas could get relief and more space by restructuring contracts like Jason Witten's. Or they could get Dez Bryant signed to a long-term deal to lessen his cap hit in 2015 from $12.8 million. Or they could try to do the much-discussed re-work of Brandon Carr's contract. After the draft, I'd bet on the Cowboys approaching Carr about that, especially if they pick up a corner early in the draft who they think could help in 2015.

The Cowboys lead the NFC East teams in cap space by a large margin, but the other teams don't have the Hardy contract to deal with throughout the year.

Among NFC East teams, that's the most space available. The New York Giants have $8.784 million, followed by the Washington Redskins ($7.135 million) and the Philadelphia Eagles ($6.654 million). League-wide, the Cowboys come in at 15th in cap space.

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