FRISCO, Texas – On the day the NFL announced an expected decrease in the 2021 salary cap, the Cowboys made a few more expected moves as well.
And these actually create some cap relief for the upcoming season. The NFL announced Wednesday the cap has been reduced down to $182.5 million for 2021. Last year, the cap was $198.2 million.
To help with that, the Cowboys have free up some space. According to reports, the Cowboys were able to restructure the contracts of three players – La'el Collins, Tyron Smith and Zack Martin – to free up around $17 million in cap space this season.
It's more of a procedural move that is written into the original contracts. Basically, the Cowboys have the ability to turn a player's upcoming base salary into a signing bonus. That puts more money in the player's pocket immediately, but allows the Cowboys spread out the bonus over the length of the contract, or even to add a year at the end of it, which lowers the current cap charge.
It's not a new process for the Cowboys or any NFL team as a simple way to work around salary cap restraints. However, it does prolong the contract and can get teams in trouble if the player winds up with a back-loaded contract that doesn't justify his play on the field.
Another way the Cowboys saved some money was getting the deal complete with Dak Prescott on Wednesday. Instead of him counting nearly $38 million if he had played the season under the franchise tag, the Cowboys were able to structure his six-year deal that will void down to four, in a way that he counts only $22.2 million on the cap this season. Don't forget, he was counting $31.4 million on the 2020 cap, so there's a savings of over $9 million just from last year.