It was strange, to say the least, to see that the Cowboys had struck a deal with a free agent whom they don’t have the cap space to sign.
But that’s what happened Tuesday, with the news that linebacker Justin Durant will eventually sign a contract with the Cowboys, once the Cowboys clear enough cap space to absorb Durant’s deal.
Until then, Durant remains a free agent. Any other team that wants to sign him can try. And if a team offers more money than the Cowboys have ponied up, maybe Durant will walk away.
The Cowboys surely would be upset if Durant reneges. But they’d have no right to be. Basically, they’re trying to expand their salary cap by squatting on Durant at a time when they have barely $100,000 left to spend. If they want to nail him down to an enforceable contract, they need to create the cap space.
This gives even more leverage to the players whose deals Dallas is trying to extend. Whether it’s defensive end Anthony Spencer or quarterback Tony Romo or someone else, the Cowboys now have added urgency to create cap space, given the possibility that Durant will move on.