FRISCO, Texas –The Cowboys slotted a major contract into their 2018 salary cap this week with DeMarcus Lawrence signing his one-year, $17.143 franchise tag – and on Wednesday, the club created some extra cap space by releasing defensive end Benson Mayowa.
In 2016, the Cowboys signed Mayowa to a three-year deal worth roughly $8 million. He led the defense with six sacks last year but posted only one last season with fewer defensive snaps in 14 games (2 starts).
The move should open up nearly $3 million with free agency set to open March 14. The Cowboys are currently just under the cap even with Lawrence's sizable tag total.
The Cowboys also released veteran defensive tackle Joe Vellano.
As they have in recent years, the front office has options to build more cap space. They could choose to restructure a contract or two from their current roster. They're also hopeful to get a long-term deal done with All-Pro guard Zack Martin, which presumably could lower his cap hit in 2018.
And, of course, there's plenty of speculation about Dez Bryant's current deal through 2019. Speaking at the NFL Combine last week, team owner/general manager Jerry Jones said he wants Bryant back in 2018 but declined to comment about his contract amid speculation over possibly tweaking the deal. Bryant is set to count $16.5 million on the cap in 2018.