Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones got his hand caught in the cookie jar again as his team will be docked $10 million in cap space for taking an immediate cap hit in 2010. Dallas signed receiver Miles Austin to a six-year, $54 million extension with a base salary of $17 million, which was perfectly legal during that uncapped season. The Cowboys did that to conserve future cap space, but now the NFL has a hard salary cap again, so that won’t fly. The league isn’t calling this a violation, but Dallas will still be docked the cap room, which will take a very heavy toll on the Cowboys’ hopes of adding free agent help in the next two seasons.
The Cowboys can spread the $10 million hit over the 2012 and ’13 seasons, but that still takes a huge chunk out of the cap space Dallas expected to have when free agency begins on Tuesday. The kicker is that all NFL team were officially warned six times of the consequences of these types of move in 2010, but the Cowboys and Washington Redskins ignored it. That’s right; the other boneheaded owner in the NFC East, Dan Snyder, pulled the same stunt. However, the Redskins were penalized $36 million in cap room instead of the relatively measly $10 million the Cowboys received.
As mentioned, all NFL teams were warned not to overspend during the uncapped year as a loophole to avoiding a hard cap in the future, but the Cowboys ignored the notice. The Cowboys re-worked Austin’s contract last season to make his base salary $685,000 and that’s where the problem arose this season when the league announced the hard salary cap much later than usual.
This can be taken one of two ways in Dallas – Cowboys fans can be angry with Jerry Jones for again ruining his team’s chances of cashing in during free agency or they can be thankful of one specific consequence.
One particular overpaid player is going to pay the price for Jones’ gamble. The Cowboys will now be forced to cut cornerback Terence Newman thanks to this $10 million penalty. Many of the Dallas faithful have been calling for Newman’s release since 2008 and word around Valley Ranch was that he would have been cut this off-season anyway. Regardless, his days in Dallas are over.
Whichever way you take this, it can’t be argued Jerry Jones was simply trying to pull the “the-rules-don’t-apply-to-me” card and it backfired, as mentioned by Jacques it the tweet above. Here’s to Jerry Jones ruining another chance at bringing in high-profile free agent and finally improving this wretched secondary. Oh well; there’s always next year.