As the Cowboys prepare for a loaded off-season, one thing they need to address before making any big moves is finding a way to get under the new NFL salary cap. The league informed teams that the salary cap would increase by more than $16 million over 2022, up to $224.8 million for 2023.
Dallas is currently $7 million over that number.
Plenty of moves can be made to get the Cowboys under the salary cap and even create enough space to SPEND money this off-season, and here are three easy ways to do so.
EXTEND DAK PRESCOTT‘s Contract
This is for those fans who don't understand how this works and those who hate Dak Prescott and want to replace him with someone who will not make the playoffs for the next five years.
Adding four or even five more years to his deal would allow Dallas to restructure his current money. They pay him a signing bonus that would spread, cap-wise, over the years and create space for the team.
The Rams did it with Matthew Stafford last year. They gave him a four-year extension worth $160 million and a signing bonus. His cap impact then went down to $13 million and $20 million over 2022 and 2023.
CUT the Aging TYRON SMITH
A few tough decisions will be made this off-season. One move the Cowboys could make would free up $13.6 million in space.
The Cowboys have gotten their money's worth out of Tyron Smith, and more, and the vet is due to count $17.6 million against the cap.
Dallas hit on Tyler Smith last year in the draft, and the hope is that Terence Steele (restricted free agent) will recover from his ACL tear. A post-June 1st cut of Tyron Smith would be a wise option.
Release EZEKIEL ELLIOTT Outright
You knew this was coming, didn't you?
Let me be clear: I do not want the Cowboys to cut Ezekiel Elliott.
Zeke still has value in the short-yardage game.
He told the Cowboys he would take a pay cut to stay with the team, but a post-June 1st cut would save Dallas nearly $11 million.
His production has fallen off. He only averaged 3.8 yards per carry and totaled just 17 explosive runs in 2022. If Tony Pollard recovers and plays on the franchise tag, things could get ugly for Elliott.
He did rush for 12 touchdowns this season, but is that enough to continue to pay him that much money when you have a better running back behind him?
I want Elliott on this team for his leadership and what he brings to the locker room — it just wouldn't feel the same without him.
So what do you think the Cowboys should do?
If these don't happen, I think players like Jourdan Lewis and others would be cut. They could even restructure Zack Martin's contract to save a handful of money.
The Cowboys will have money to spend this off-season, it's just a matter of if Jerry Jones will make a move and sign the missing piece to help them make the Super Bowl.
One of these moves will probably happen to clear a ton of cap space, but we just have to wait and see which axe the Cowboys decide to drop.