By Mike Fisher
FRISCO (105.3 The Fan) — It’s a move we predicted, but one that is celebrated by Dallas Cowboys fans: Cowboys COO Stephen Jones tells me on Tuesday that Dallas has engineered the re-do on All-Pro linebacker Sean Lee’s contract that will create $5 million of 2017 cap room for the team.
“Kicking the can’’? Assuming my educated guess on how Dallas is doing this, I’ll call it “kicking the thimble.’’
Unlike the recent re-do’s on Travis Frederick and Tyron Smith, which moved money inside the existing structure of their deals, Lee’s re-do likely required an extension — “voidable years’’ for 2020 and 2021. Lee is 30, and can’t be expected to still be playing then. So Dallas can have restructured his $9 million base salary to the minimum for a 7-year vet ($900,000), and added two “voidable” years to the end of the contract, which will lower his $12.5 million cap charge down to $7.1 million.
In doing so, the Cowboys gain $5 million of room.
Their penalty for doing so? Likely a $3 million acceleration of “dead money’’ into 2020 — in the Cowboy’ view, a small price to pay to have Lee, $5 million of room, and the ability to spent that to help a title-contending 2017 team.
This move slides Dallas to $9 million under the $167-million cap. They can make other adjustments like this (with Dez Bryant, for instance). But the most notable cap-room-creating deal can be the divorce from QB Tony Romo, set to provide the Cowboys with $5.1 mil more of room.