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Cowboys Have Almost No Dead Money on 2020 Salary Cap

For years, the had to play a dangerous game with managing “dead money” on their salary cap. There was constant restructuring and releasing of contracts to create cap space; constant deferment of cap issues from one years to the next. But as we prepare for the , the have cleaned up the books to where there is almost no dead money anymore.

Both Over The Cap and Spotrac have Dallas with just about $1.99 million in dead money for 2020. The bulk of that comes from releasing last September, which caused $1.36 million of remaining guaranteed money to be counted against the 2020 cap.

Most of the remainder comes from early termination of other deals, such as CB and QB . Then there are several very small amounts based on minimal guarantees and bonuses.

But it was only yesterday that we had massive loads of dead money from releasing guys like and . In Romo’s case, we had to split that over two years to avoid $16 million of dead money dumping into a single season.

Clearly, we are in a much better place. And that’s thanks largely to the rising influence of in the .

Stephen lived through the “cap hell” that Dallas created in the mid 90s and for about two decades after. It’s been evident that he wants to get the team out of his father’s mistakes and avoid them down the road.

The Cowboys should be able to maintain this reality for at least another year. Their only potential cap casualty in 2020 is DL Tyrone Crawford, and the most dead money he would add to the cap is $1.1 million.

We’ve certainly had our frustrations with decisions but at least this is one area where we can give them plenty of credit. The Cowboys become much more shrewd in their salary cap management, and the result is rare cap freedom in the 2020 .

What do you think?

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Jess Haynie

Written by Jess Haynie

Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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    • It’s money paid to players that are no longer on the rooster. Take the Saints for example, The way they worked Brees deal they owe him 20mil in 2020. Now he will be a free agent in March and say he signs with the Raiders. The Saints still have to pay him 20mil

    • Most NFL contracts have a certain amount of a guaranteed money associated with them. NFL teams structures the accounting of those contracts so that more of the guaranteed money counts in the early years than later years, so that players are easier to release down the road as age, injury, or other problems cause them to under-perform their salary and/or cap hit.

      For example, Ezekiel Elliott’s new contract still has $25.8M in dead money associated with it. Dallas couldn’t hardly cut him now even if they wanted to; he’d take up a greater chunk of cap space off the roster than on it. But next year that number drops to $14M, then $10M in 2022, and so on.

      Note that this doesn’t affect when the player receives his money. The signing bonuses is paid up front and the base salaries are year-to-year. But dead money is all about accounting within the contract that helps teams stay within the salary cap.

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