IRVING, Texas – Executive vice president Stephen Jones is sticking by his word.
During the Combine, he and owner/general manager Jerry Jones scoffed at the notion that getting under the cap would be tricky without extending Tony Romo. The Cowboys managed to do it in just a few hours Thursday afternoon by restructuring the deals of Brandon Carr, Jason Witten, Miles Austin, Ryan Cook and DeMarcus Ware.
But even then during the Combine, when ownership knew the team shouldn't have a problem getting under the cap, Stephen Jones also realized how unlikely it would be to splurge on free agents from around the league, regardless of which players got restructured.
"It's tighter, but the only reason I say that is not to get under it. It's just we can't go out and do what we did last year," Stephen Jones said at the Combine. "See what I'm saying?"
More moves will undoubtedly be made, but a splash like the one the Cowboys made for Carr last year won't happen again.
The Cowboys got under the cap by about $5 million after Thursday's restructures. They'll save even more money on the cap with further moves this offseason, some of which could happen before the end of the weekend.
Extending Romo would put the Cowboys in an even better position to grab a couple of relatively inexpensive fixes or to entice free agent Anthony Spencer to stay in town. But regardless of the restructuring or potential cuts, most of the immediate fixes on the roster this year will still happen in the NFL Draft, rather than free agency. [embedded_ad]
Keep in mind the Cowboys still have 15 players set to become unrestricted free agents and another three restricted free agents, with safeties Danny McCray and Eric Frampton, linebackers Ernie Sims, Victor Butler and Spencer and center Phil Costa all among the group.
"If you don't have a supreme emphasis on the draft every year, you're dead," Stephen Jones said. "You're dead. Every now and then you supplement it with free agency. Player acquisitions is 365 days a year. There's a lot of ways to do it. But first and foremost, premium, supreme is the draft."