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Insider

Cowboys and the salary cap

1/16/2013

ESPN NFL Insider John Clayton and ESPNDallas.com's Todd Archer agree that the Dallas Cowboys are on target to be about $18.2 million over the salary cap as things stand now, so how will they work out their finances this offseason? First, they will try to restructure some contracts.

"The Cowboys have a built-in trigger in Brandon Carr’s contract that will lower his $16.3 million cap number and save about $10.5 million based on how they structured his contract when he signed last year," Archer wrote. "They can re-work the deals of DeMarcus Ware, Jason Witten and Miles Austin to roughly save another $11 million."

Of course, reworking contracts essentially just pushes those salary-cap issues down the road, which means they will be a thorn in their side at a later date. To that end, there are some contracts that might just be axed.

"There are a number of players that could be on the chopping block -- Doug Free, Jay Ratliff, Dan Connor, Lawrence Vickers and Marcus Spears -- and could create approximately $13 million in space," Archer added.

"By designating Free as a post-June 1 cut, the Cowboys will free up $7 million of space in 2013. But since that wouldn't come off the books until June, they could use that money to sign their draft picks -- much the same way they did with the post-June 1 release of Terence Newman in 2012."

One other thing the Cowboys could do to adjust their salary-cap issues is to sign quarterback Tony Romo to a contract extension. It will be intriguing to see how exactly they handle their finances and what sort of moves that will allow them to make on the free-agent market this offseason.