For years, the Dallas Cowboys 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 2020 offseason, the Cowboys 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 Taco Charlton 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 rookie deals, such as CB Michael Jackson and QB Mike White. 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 Tony Romo and Dez Bryant. 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 Stephen Jones in the Cowboys front office.
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 front office 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 offseason.