Friday, 28 February 2014

Disheveled in Dallas: Salary cap purgatory

By a Dallas Cowboys fan from T.O., not that T.O. But I did get tired during the Super Bowl

It's nice to hear that Henry Melton would consider Dallas as a possible free agent destination.

As a high-motor defensive tackle, he'd be a great fit for the Cowboys' low-revving defence. Plus, he's from Dallas, had a great run under defensive co-ordinator Rod Marinelli when they were both in Chicago, and would probably sign at a discount seeing as how he's coming off a serious knee injury.

There's just one thing.

The Cowboys haven't any money for free agents. At the moment, and probably not for the next few months. The cash window, as they often say, is closed. Barred shut.

Not only are the Cowboys unable to sign anybody, they likely have to jettison their best defensive player last season, free agent Jason Hatcher, and also perhaps, the franchise player on the defensive side of the ball, DeMarcus Ware.

Jerry Jones hinted at releasing Ware in an interview this week, stating the prospect has to be considered given the number of games Ware has missed in the last two seasons.

Depending on where the league-mandated cap lands, the Cowboys, with their current roster, will be some $20 million over the cap. That is they have to shed that much worth of salary cap in contracts by March 11 or face further penalties.

Ware is scheduled to make $16 million in 2014, if he is a cap casualty, he'd save the club some $7.5 million in cap space, with the remaining $8.5 million considered dead money. If he's cut by June 1, his salary can be spread over two years, creating $12.75 million in cap savings.

Jerry could be sabre-rattling in order to once again extend a Cowboy player's contract and renegotiate at a lower figure. But even the Generalissimo has to see that this strategy is just prolonging the agony. As of Friday, the two sides had not met, according to reports.

Certainly Miles Austin has caught his last pass for the Cowboys. As a June 1st cut, his projected earnings of $8.25 million this upcoming season would be reduced in salary cap dollars by $5.5 million.

On Friday, the team released Everette Brown, Ray Dominguez, Corvey Irvin and Jeff Olson, saving more than $2 million in salary, but less than $1 million in cap space.

Just $19 million to go.

And don't forget about having some $3 to $4 million set aside to sign draft picks.

So no, Henry Melton. There likely won't be a homecoming deal for you. Just the same, I imagine this is your agent's ploy to squeeze more money on a one-year, incentive laden deal from the Bears.

This what happens in Big D now. What else can you expect out of a franchise that has been overestimating its own talent for the better part of a decade and then signing them only to headline-worthy deals. Where have you gone Roy Williams, Marion Barber III?

You have to love Jerry's largesse.... If you're a player.

As a fan, I'm not that enthused that in a salary cap league, Tony Romo and Brandon Carr will make $34 million between them -- add Ware and that's an even $50 million.

With the cap expected to land around $133 million, that's a big slice for two or three players. But it's just par for the course in Dallas.

In 2012, more than $14 million was counted as dead money due to contracts given to Terrence Newman, Barber and Leonard Davis.

Last season, $11.6 million worth of salaries, for Jay Ratliff, Gerald Sensabaugh, Nate Livings, Newman and Dan Connor counted as dead money.

This year, Dallas will carry $12 million in dead money, led by the $7 million to account for Ratliff -- the guy who filled in for Melton's injury in Chicago, after his release from Dallas.

So Henry, yeah. About that deal...

To be continued