By Matthew Postins
The Dallas Cowboys spent Tuesday finalizing the restructuring of three veteran contracts for cap space – Tony Romo, Sean Lee and Orlando Scandrick.
The Cowboys likely aren’t done, but the restructuring of those three contracts put the Cowboys near the $133 salary cap for the 2014 NFL season.
Romo provided the biggest savings, according to multiple reports. Romo converted $12.5 million of his base salary for 2014 into a bonus, allowing the Cowboys to reduce Romo’s base salary for 2014 to $1 million. The rest of the converted bonus money is deferred to future years, dropping Romo’s overall cap hit by about $10 million to a total of $11.773 million.
Lee, who signed a long-term extension last fall, converted $4.75 million of base salary into bonus money, dropping his base salary to $750,000 for 2014. Scandrick, who also signed an extension last fall, converted $3.75 million in base salary into a bonus, dropping his base salary to $750,000 for 2014.
In all, the restructures shaved a reported $16.8 million in cap space.
These maneuvers have put the Cowboys within spitting distance of getting under the 2014 salary cap. ESPNDallas.com put the figure as less than a million. Spotrac.com, a site that tracks pro sports salaries but is unofficial, has the Cowboys about $329,000 below the expected $133 million salary cap.
It’s unclear if the Cowboys will restructure additional deals before the new league year begins on March 11.
None of this takes into account the possibility that the Cowboys could restructure other contracts or cut players, such as defensive end DeMarcus Ware or wide receiver Miles Austin. Ware is on record as saying he won’t take a pay cut, but is willing to restructure his deal. It is widely believed that Austin will be waived as a post-June 1 roster cut designation, a move that would allow the Cowboys to spread his remaining cap hit over two years.