It’s no secret the Cowboys are budget-shoppers when it comes to free agency and this year is no different. Their one big signing so far is a $17 million deal for four years with Terrance Williams, and even that is considered a bargain.
Going into free agency much was made about the Cowboys being up against the salary cap, and compared to other teams they were just that. They managed to open up some room by restructuring contracts, but they’ve also spent some of that signing five free agents.
So that begs the question of where do they stand now in terms of salary cap, and who is still out there that could be potential targets.
First, the money. There’s no consensus as to where the Cowboys are at publicly, but the two sites that track this stuff closely have the following conclusions:
- Over The Cap: They currently list the Cowboys with just under $8.4 million to spend. That does not include the $5 million they will get back from Doug Free’s retirement, and of course it doesn’t include the $5.1 million in cap space from resolving the Tony Romo situation. It includes Nolan Carroll’s contract but doesn’t include the Stephen Paea contract (reportedly $2 million) or Damontre Moore’s contract, which should be inconsequential.
- Spotrac: They have the Cowboys at just over $10 million in cap space. They have accounted for Free’s retirement, but similarly have not accounted for Romo’s departure yet. They include the Carroll contract, but not Paea’s and Moore’s.
As for who is still out there at positions of need, let’s look at some potential candidates.
- Brandon Carr/Morris Claiborne - We’ll list these two as one candidate. The Cowboys might consider re-signing one, but assuredly not both in light of the Carroll signing. Claiborne is being heavily linked to the Baltimore Ravens, so it might all come down to Carr if the Cowboys are still shopping for a cornerback.
- Alterraun Verner - He once looked promising but was a bust with the Bucs. Could he revive himself with a change of scenery?
- The ‘big-name” veterans - Do the Cowboys want to keep getting older in the secondary? If so, there are a few big names still on the market, Darrelle Revis, Sam Shields, Leon Hall, and our old friend Terence Newman.
- T.J. McDonald - Had another good year on the field although his off the field DUI is an issue.
- Bradley McDougald - Versatile safety that seems to be getting better.
Defensive Ends/Pass Rushers
- DeMarcus Ware - We’re all familiar with Ware. Although he is aging, he could be good in a limited role and could be a great mentor for some of the younger guys.
- Alex Okafor - Last year was a down year, but a few years ago put up eight sacks.
- Devin Taylor - If he could recapture some of his better seasons, he might be a real player. He’s still young at 27.
- Austin Pasztor - Started for the Browns this past season at tackle, could be competition for Doug Free’s open spot.
- Jonathan Cooper - The Cowboys could re-sign Copper if they were impressed enough with him in his brief audition, allowing Collins to move to tackle.
Dallas might also be wise to go ahead and cut Alfred Morris and use that cap savings to help in re-signing Darren McFadden, who is a much better fit for the Cowboys scheme and has been very capable since joining the team a few years ago.
Who do you have on your radar for the Cowboys to go after?