Cowboys owner and General Manager Jerry Jones loves to make a splash in free agency, but at the moment he doesn’t have the salary cap space to do it.
Even after the Cowboys’ recent moves — including cutting center Phil Costa and restructuring the contracts of guard Mackenzy Bernadeau, quarterback Tony Romo, linebacker Sean Lee and cornerback Orlando Scandrick — the Cowboys only have about $2 million in cap space, according to ESPN.com.
Before Jones could make a splash with an addition, he may have to make a splash with a subtraction. And so the big question facing the Cowboys is whether they’ll release DeMarcus Ware, the defensive end they’re hoping will take a pay cut. If Ware doesn’t play ball on a restructured deal and Dallas releases him, the Cowboys will get $7.4 million in cap savings, which would put their total cap space at around $9.4 million.
There’s likely more cap relief coming for the Cowboys, as they can release receiver Miles Austin with a post-June 1 designation and free up another $5.5 million in cap room, but that cap room won’t be available until it’s time for the Cowboys to start using some of their cap space to sign their rookie class.
Basically, the Cowboys’ free agency plans hinge on what happens with Ware. If they release him or get him to take a new contract that provides immediate cap relief, Jones may be able to sign a key player in free agency. If things stay as they are, the Cowboys will mostly be observers while other teams are spending.