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Cowboys Freeing Up Cap Room But Don't Expect Big Splashes When FA Begins

IRVING, Texas – Come 3 p.m. on Tuesday, the NFL will likely go into a chaotic frenzy of transactions as the free-agent signing period begins.

But don't expect major chaos coming from the halls of Valley Ranch.

While the Cowboys have been known to strike fast at the start of free agency, like they did in 2012 when they signed four players on the first day, including Brandon Carr, more often than not they will take a wait-and-see approach when free agency begins.

Expect the latter to occur on Tuesday, but don't think they won't have their eyes open.

This team might be somewhat strapped on the salary cap but they did get some relief on Monday when offensive tackle Tyron Smith restructured his deal to give him about $8 million on the cap, a formality move that was built-in to the contract negotiations when he signed last August. 

So the Cowboys will likely have the money to do certain things in free agency, and that includes re-sign running back DeMarco Murray, who is expected to at least test the market this week.

Technically, teams aren't supposed to be finalizing contracts with any unrestricted free agents, only allowed to talk parameters. However, with the gray area between talking numbers and discussing a deal, combined with social media and sourced reports, several deals have already been leaked, including the monster contract Miami is reportedly ready to give Ndamukong Suh.

For now, things seem quiet on the Murray front although a few other recent running back deals around the league will likely play a factor in Murray's next contract. With the Bills paying LeSean McCoy $8 million per season and the Saints expected to keep Mark Ingram in the $4 million range, it's safe to assume Murray will fall somewhere in between, and perhaps exactly in between at $6 million per season.

Of course, it only takes one team out there to break the bank. Come Tuesday, teams will officially get the chance to try.

And at this point, most of the Cowboys' remaining unrestricted free agents will get to at least see what is out there for them. The Cowboys weren't comfortable letting guys such as Doug Free and Cole Beasley get to they open market, which is why both were signed to multi-year contracts over the weekend and last week.

But now, players such as Murray, Justin Durant, Rolando McClain, Dwayne Harris and Bruce Carter will likely get the opportunity to see their net worth. Other free agents – George Selvie, Anthony Spencer and Nick Hayden are unrestricted as well.

Offensive tackle Jermey Parnell is also among that group but is reportedly moving on to the Jaguars, who are expected to pay him about $6.5 million per season – considerably higher than the player he backed up the last three years. Free's three-year contract was worth around $5 million per season.


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