DALLAS (105.3 THE FAN) – We now know what the NFL salary cap will be for the NFL in 2016, and that new number — $155.27 million — is not a surprise for the Dallas Cowboys. But it is beneficial, as according to our calculations:
1. Dallas has $12 million in cap room presently.
2. Dallas can flip a pair of switches once the league year begins on March 9 and, if needed, clear out another $12 mil of room by altering the contracts of Tyron Smith and Tyrone Crawford.
Said owner Jerry Jones: “I don’t know that we’ll ever be any better under the cap than we are right now and I don’t expect to be.”
There are other cap “tricks’’ at Dallas’ disposal (just as with any other team) that in the specific case of the Cowboys, can open up about $48 million of room, according to our studies.
One more time: There is room now. There can be more room later, with ease. And ultimately, there can be enough room to do virtually anything … thus, once again, crushing the myth of “Cowboys Cap Hell.’’
Along with the salary-cap number for the league we have the franchise tags for the league year. Dallas isn’t planning on using the tag on anyone (as it did last year with Dez Bryant before eventually given him his “Cowboys For Life’’ deal). But the numbers are noteworthy, anyway, as I’ll illustrate in a moment.
First, the franchise-tag numbers by position:
Quarterback: $19.953 million
Running Back: $11.789 million
Receiver: $14.599 million
Tight End: $9.118 million
Offensive Line: $13.706 million
Defensive End: $15.701 million
Defensive Tackle: $13.615 million
Linebacker: $14.129 million
Cornerback: $13.952 million
Safety: $10.806 million
Kicker/punter: $4.572 million
If Dallas isn’t going to use the tag, why do these numbers matter? Because they are the cost of the Cowboys doing business in free agency — and the cost of Dallas’ competition, too.
A trio of examples:
1. Do the Cowboys like a safety like Kansas City’s Eric Berry? (They do.) How much might that cost? Well, it might cost $10.806 million to start.
2. Do the Cowboys like a pass-rusher like Miami’s Olivier Vernon? (They do.) How much might that cost? Well, it might cost $15.701 million to start.
3. Do the Cowboys like seeing their NFC East foes getting painted into financial corners? (Not “cap hell,’’ just “cap corners’’?) Yes, they do, so they look on as Washington preps to tag and pay semi-proven QB Kirk Cousins almost $20 million to start … the sort of tough decision a team can make due to the rising cap number but must make within the framework of the franchise-tag numbers.
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