Predicting the Dallas Cowboys’ 5 Biggest Free Agency Moves
Jason Garrett - Dallas Cowboys
At nearly $24 million over the salary cap, the Dallas Cowboys will have their work cut out for them as they try to get under the salary cap.
As we’ve seen before the Cowboys will restructure contracts, and may even ask certain players to take pay cuts in an effort to create cap space.
As of right now, the team has $11.8 million in dead money resulting mainly from the Jay Ratliff, Nate Livings, and Marcus Spears releases. The team will also eat $1.2 million from the Sean Lissemore trade that sent him to the San Diego Chargers.
Some of the options that the Cowboys have, as I wrote earlier, would be to restructure some of their big contracts that include quarterback Tony Romo, defensive end DeMarcus Ware and cornerback Brandon Carr. Those three players alone will account for almost $50 million against the cap in 2014.
By restructuring Romo, Ware and Carr’s deals, the team could save about $23.5 million, however, that would simply put the Cowboys in a bigger hole down the road. Other candidates for restructure could be tight end Jason Witten and middle linebacker Sean Lee. If the Cowboys restructure their deals also, the team could save about $6.8 million.
The team could always cut ties with underachieving veterans as appears to be the case with wide receiver Miles Austin, who is rumored to be on the chopping block. If the team cuts Austin outright, they would eat $7.85 million in dead money in 2014, but his contract would be off the books in 2015. By designating Austin as a post-June 1 cut, the team would eat $2.74 million in dead money this year, and $5.1 million in 2015, but the move would create $5.5 million in cap space in 2014.
One way or another, the Cowboys have to find a way to get under the cap, and as we’ve seen before they more than likely will. If they do get enough salary cap relief to be able to sign players during the free agency period, these are five players who could be wearing a Cowboys uniform in 2014.
Linval Joseph - Cowboys Free Agency 2014
At 25-years-old, Linval Joseph is one of the top run defenders, who can also pressure the quarterback from the 1-technique defensive tackle spot.
He’s in Pro Football Focus’ top-10 free agent interior defensive linemen, and chances are that signing him would take about $5 million to $6 million annually. However, this is one investment that I wouldn’t mind the Cowboys making.
Everson Griffen - Cowboys Free Agency 2014
After recording 12 sacks in 2012, Everson Griffen was expected to be a bigger factor for the Minnesota Vikings. However, he only managed six sacks in 2013, and is now scheduled to hit the free agent market.
Griffen is a young guy, who has shown flashes as a dynamic pass-rusher, but he hasn’t been consistent through the first four years of his career. I don’t think the Cowboys would have to break the bank to sign Griffen.
Corey Wootton - Cowboys Free Agency 2014
After undergoing arthroscopic hip surgery to correct a hip labrum issue, Corey Wootton is set to test the free agent waters. According to his doctors, Wootton is expected to be fully recovered by the time that training camp starts.
Statistically, Wootton had a down year in 2013 recording only three sacks, but reuniting him with Rod Marinelli could see him return to his 2012 form when he recorded eight sacks.
Henry Melton - Cowboys Free Agency 2014
Due to a torn ACL, Henry Melton missed much of the 2013 season. Melton could be a free agent target for the Cowboys because he’s a young guy at just 27-years-old, and because of the history he has with newly assigned defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli.
Coming off of an injury, and after being arrested and charged with misdemeanor assault and public intoxication, Melton may not get as much as he might have otherwise, but he would still be a huge upgrade at defensive tackle.
Louis Delmas - Cowboys Free Agency 2014
After being recently released by the Detroit Lions, Louis Delmas finds himself looking for a job. Delmas, is a young player, but has been injury prone throughout his career.
I don’t expect any team to break the bank on Delmas, because of his degenerative knee condition, so if he can be had at a cheap price, adding some veteran depth at safety wouldn’t be a bad idea for the Cowboys; I mean, they are an injury away from having guys like Jeff Heath and J.J. Wilcox as starters.