IRVING, Texas – As expected, the Cowboys have started the process to get themselves under the salary cap, which is now projected to be around $133 million.
The increased cap of nearly $10 million will help the Cowboys, but they've still get work to do. It has started with the scheduled restructures of both linebacker Sean Lee and cornerback Orlando Scandrick. Both players signed new deals and/or extensions last season. But the Cowboys put these scheduled restructures in the language of the contract, knowing they could and likely would, be utilized this offseason.
The moves save the Cowboys nearly $7.8 million in space, by turning the base salaries into signing bonuses and pushing back the bulk of the contract into later years. The same procedure will likely be done with Tony Romo, who also signed a new deal last March. The restructure will probably net another $10 million in cap room, which would put them close to the $133 million.
The Cowboys can still create more room by cutting veteran players such as Miles Austin ($5.5 million if he's a post June 1 cut) and center Phil Costa, who will save them about $1.5 million. Justin Durant could get released and save the team another $1.2 million.
And it's likely DeMarcus Ware won't be [embedded_ad] playing for that $16 million cap charge. Either he agrees to a lower base or simply a new contract, or Ware could be outright released, in a move that saves the team about $7.5 million.
Restructuring Brandon Carr's contact is another option but the team did the same last year and after a down season from the veteran cornerback, it's not a procedure the Cowboys will be comfortable in making. Pushing back money only makes him tougher to release should he have another season in 2014 similar to last year, when he gave up too many big plays, including a 329-yard performance to Detroit wide receiver Calvin Johnson.
The Cowboys need to get under the cap by March 11 and will certainly get there in time, like they've done every year.