In the wake of Travis Frederick's surprise retirement earlier this offseason, one of the big questions was what would happen to his $11 million cap hit? The likely outcome being that the Cowboys would not designate him “retired” until after June 1st.
Often, when a player is released, a post-June 1st designation can typically save the team more money on the cap than just an outright release. By waiting until after June 1st to move Frederick to the reserve/retired list, they'll get the same type of savings to this year's cap. This is the case with the Dallas Cowboys.
As Jason Fitzgerald of OverTheCap.com explains, the Cowboys are set to recoup $7 million in cap space this season by waiting to make Frederick's retirement official on June 2nd.
“Travis Frederick currently counts for $11.975 million on the Cowboys salary cap and would have counted for $11.04 million in dead money had they officially retired him back in March. By waiting the Cowboys only need to account for $4.975 million in dead money this year, opening up $7 million in cap room to bring them to around $12 million for the season. So waiting was clearly the right move for them as they needed some extra cap space. Frederick's charge next year will be $6.065 million. “
Jason Fitzgerald – OverTheCap.com
The Cowboys will then have roughly $12 million in cap space to work with for the 2020 season and the possibility remains that there will be more after a couple of moves.
Once the Dallas Cowboys work out a long-term agreement with Dak Prescott, they'll be able to lower his 2020 cap hit from the hard hold that is the $31 million franchise tag designation. There is no wiggle room with the franchise tag, thus creating a bit of urgency from the team's perspective to go ahead and get a deal done. Once that deal is done, the Cowboys can free up some more salary cap space.
The other option for the Dallas Cowboys to create more cap space would be to release Defensive Lineman Tyrone Crawford, though that seems highly unlikely at this point.
As the Dallas Cowboys seek to show multiple looks in their front seven, Tyrone Crawford's versatility is an important trait. His ability to play both inside and on the edge in four-man fronts and as a defensive end in three-man fronts helps the Cowboys be more versatile in their front seven.
Tyrone Crawford's $9.1 million cap hit for 2020 seems like a lot and the Cowboys have refused Crawford's offer to take a pay cut, likely as a sign of goodwill toward the player and the agency (Tyrone Crawford and Dak Prescott share the same representation). Crawford has been a leader in the locker room for some time and with Jason Witten gone to the Las Vegas Raiders, Crawford's voice may be a needed one.
Once that money is freed up, it provides more flexibility for the Dallas Cowboys if they wanted to pursue a highly sought after safety through the trade market.
There isn't another move they could make that could save them a significant amount of salary cap space at this point. And while they may not use the $12 million in space that they'll have tomorrow, the benefit of having it and not using it is they can roll it over to next year's cap. With the possibility that the salary cap could face a period of stagnant or little growth in the wake of COVID-19, having that cap space to roll over to the future cap will be beneficial.
None of this is unexpected. It's simply accounting maneuvers. But tomorrow those maneuvers will take effect.