As things stand right now the Dallas Cowboys currently rank 14th in the league with approximately $24 million in salary cap space after carrying over $25.4 million from last year. That of course is based on the projected 2021 NFL salary cap being around $185 million.
While being under the projected salary cap by $24 million is good having even more money to work with in free agency would be even better. That's especially true considering the Dallas Cowboys are still trying to extend Dak Prescott long-term, which would cut into that savings quite a bit.
In order to give the Dallas Cowboys as much money to work with this offseason as possible I decided to do a little research. I was pleasantly surprised to discover by making just a few money-saving moves they could potentially create at least an additional $40 million in salary cap space.
Surprisingly enough the Cowboys don't really have very many players who could be considered salary cap casualties this year who could save them very much money. But, by cutting Anthony Brown they could save $2.75 million and parting ways with both Chris Jones and Greg Zuerlein could save them $2.4 million and $2.2 million respectively.
Although those three moves would create approximately $7 million in salary cap space that's minimal savings compared to other money-saving moves they can make. Restructuring some of the bigger contracts is where the large potential in savings come into play.
If the Dallas Cowboys were to restructure some of the bigger contracts Amari Cooper, DeMarcus Lawrence, Zack Martin, Tyron Smith, and Ezekiel Elliott are the most likely candidates. That's not to say restructuring any of these contracts won't have ramifications in the future, but it is Dallas' best way to create additional salary cap space is needed.
Restructuring Amari Cooper's contract would save the Cowboys up to $14.3 million, DeMarcus Lawrence $12 million, Zack Martin $7.4 million, Tyron Smith $7.1 million, and Ezekiel Elliott $6.9 million in salary cap space this season. Add it all up and that equates to approximately $47 million in additional salary cap space.
For arguments sake let's pretend the Dallas Cowboys make all of these money-saving moves. Once added all up that would give them around $80 million this offseason to work with in free agency. That could easily go towards extending Dak Prescott long-term or signing any free agent to just about any kind of contract this year.
Now, I point all of this out not because I think they will make all of these moves but rather to put the myth to bed that there is such a thing as salary cap hell. There are always money-saving moves that can be made and the Dallas Cowboys are obviously no exception. However, making such moves could have future ramifications as I mentioned earlier.
There's really no way of knowing what the Dallas Cowboys plan on doing this offseason or if they will make any of these above-mentioned money-saving moves. It will however be interesting to see how they navigate free agency with all of the potential salary cap space they could have at their disposal.