The 5 Biggest Free Agency Rumors Surrounding the Dallas Cowboys
Dallas Cowboys Free Agency Rumors
The start of the NFL’s free agency period officially begins on March 11, 2014. It is when player’s current contracts expire; at which point, they are free to sign with any NFL team.
The pre-signing period begins on March 8; at this time NFL teams can reach out to players, and even begin negotiations, but no deals can be agreed upon, until or after March 11.
Given the Dallas Cowboys salary cap situation, which is estimated to be the worst in the NFL, I don’t expect them to be major players during free agency, but I do expect them to target certain players. Call them, free agent bargains, for a lack of better terms.
However, before the Cowboys can even think about targeting any free agents, they must get under the salary cap, which is projected to be $134.2 million. As of right now, the Cowboys are over by about $644,943 thanks to the restructuring of quarterback Tony Romo, middle linebacker Sean Lee and cornerback Orlando Scandrick’s contracts.
The team can continue to create cap room by restructuring cornerback Brandon Carr’s contract, restructuring, releasing or asking defensive end DeMarcus Ware to take a pay cut, and by asking wide receiver Miles Austin to take a pay cut or designating him as a post-June 1 cut.
The reason it is not beneficial for the Cowboys to simply cut Austin is because releasing him would cost the Cowboys $7.85 million in dead money this year while only providing $393,800 in cap relief. To get the most help cap-wise, the Cowboys would have to designate Austin as a post-June 1 cut, which would cost the Cowboys $2.74 million in dead money in 2014 and $5.1 million in 2015, but would provide an immediate $5.5 million in cap relief this year.
As I said earlier, I don’t expect the Cowboys to be big free agency spenders, but let’s take a look at five free agents that the Cowboys are rumored to be interested in.
Wide Receiver Nate Burleson
Because of his relationship with newly assigned offensive play caller Scott Linehan, Nate Burleson has been rumored to be an option for the Cowboys if they release Miles Austin.
Wide Receiver Robert Meachem
It’s been rumored that the Cowboys could have interest in Robert Meachem, who is expected to be a cheap option at receiver if the team parts ways with Miles Austin.
Defensive Tackle Henry Melton
After thriving in defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli’s scheme, Henry Melton is a guy that is rumored to be on the Cowboys’ radar. It’s also rumored that because Melton is from the Dallas area, he has a mutual interest in the Cowboys.
Defensive End Anthony Spencer
The Cowboys have shown interest in re-signing Anthony Spencer, who looked pretty good at defensive end prior to his season-ending knee injury in 2013.
Defensive Tackle Jason Hatcher
The Cowboys have said that they would like to retain playmaking defensive tackle Jason Hatcher, and I can’t say I blame them. In his first season as a 3-technique defensive tackle, Hatcher shattered all expectations of him by recording 41 tackles, 11 sacks, two forced fumbles, three batted passes and 33 QB hurries.
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