by Paul "The Closer" Wanecski
Who is running the books down in Dallas? With the salary cap being raised another 10 million, the Cowboys are going to have to make some tough moves this off season. See who might be on the chopping block.
I do not claim to be good with money. I have proven in my own life, many times, that I can be very stupid with a few dollars in my pocket. However, what I find impressive is that currently, the Cowboys find themselves nearly $25 Million OVER the salary cap for next year.
When we discuss estimated cap numbers from year to year, we are working under the assumption that the “Dead Money” is all impacting the current cap year. Now, depending on when a player was released, some or all of the dead money can be placed across several years. Even if America’s Team were able to move ALL of the current dead money to 2015 (which they can’t), they would still find themselves nearly $13 Million over the 2014 cap limit. Let us evaluate the options:
Option 1 - Restructure Tony Romo QB: Sorry Cowboys fans, cutting Tony Romo is not even an option, as his contract carries $41 million in dead money. He will need to restructure his contract with a $22 million dollar 2014 cap figure. His prorated bonus accounts for $8.2 million per year, so it will be hard to restructure a deal that gets him anywhere south of $16 million dollars per year.
Option 2 - Trade De Marcus Ware DE/OLB: Unfortunately, cutting De Marcus Ware will save about $7.5 million on the 2014 year however it adds an additional $8.5 in dead money that Dallas would have to eat at some point. The downside of trading Ware is that his cap number is a paltry $16 million dollars, so a team would a lot of space to make that happen. Ultimately, when you talk about deals like this it is a player-for-player trade as most teams will need to swap out another contract to absorb that kind of figure.
Option 3 - Miles Austin-WR: His cap figure is over $8 million this year. What? Not only that, he carries $7.8 million in dead money, so you are only saving less than $400,000 but cutting ties. He will have trade value to other teams, but I don’t think he is worth that kind of money.
Option 4 - Cut Kyle Orton: Draft his replacement and save the $1 million.
Option 5 - Do SOMETHING with Brandon Carr-CB: With 4 years remaining on his current contract, his cap figure stands at $12.2 in 2014, $12.4 in 2015, $13.8 in 2016, and $12.7 in 2017. Either extending his contract, restructuring his contract or find a dance partner via trade, and then drafting his replacement seem to be the most logical steps, because you cannot cut him. Cutting him would cost you an additional $4.6 million against the cap.
Option 6 - Of the Top Ten players with the highest cap number in 2014, only 3 of them if cut would have a positive impact on the salary cap for 2014 (Ware, Austin, and Orton). Long story short, a pack of orangutans throwing $100 dollar bills into a fan could have negotiated a better series of contracts than the top 51 current ones for the Cowboys.
So what do you do? Cut all the players you can to get under the cap, sign a bunch of Arena League players and pray your season turns out to be a similar to the plot in the movie “Little Giants”? If I was Jerry Jones, I would worry less about what Dez Bryant is doing off the field and be more worried about what kind of hallucinogens my staff has discovered that got us in this position in the first place.