Football has been reinstated and everyone is going crazy except for the NFL franchises that overextended themselves financially the past two seasons. This years draft picks have yet to be signed and the Dallas Cowboys are millions of dollars over the proposed salary cap. They are not alone, the teams that went on a spending spree the last few years, and specifically last year with an uncapped year, and are now over the new salary cap, have been given a slight reprieve on keeping their current players.
Earlier this week it was revealed that the salary cap for the 2011 NFL season would be 120 million. John Clayton also reported that there could be an addition 20 million available in ancillary benefits. The biggest development is that the cap floor will be 90% of the cap. Raising the cap floor will force all teams to spend at least 108M. I’m sure this was a key point in negotiations since it increases the total amount spent on player costs. Teams could offer more front-loaded contracts in order to meet the cap figure. Additionally, it’s uncertain whether it’s a soft cap that would allow teams to retain their veteran free agents or not.
Ironically the teams that did the most spending all did well with the exception of the Cowboys and the Broncos. The Cowboys have been promising for the past 6 seasons. They have taken the most chances with guys like Terrell Owens, Adam Jones, and Roy Williams. They have also had the most pro bowlers and have been about everyone's favorite to win it all the past 3 - 4 years.
They have had the talent, no doubt but for some reason or another, all of that money and talent didn't equate to a championship. This brings me to believe that if the talent was good, and the money was spent, then there has to be something wrong with the leadership.
Maybe its time for some new changes. I like what they have done to the coaching staff to this point, but Jerry Jones' role with the team needs to be redefined. It often seems that the players have a relationship with the coaches and a relationship with Jones. Ironically it never seems that their relationship with the coach and Jones are on the same level.
To make room for this season, the Cowboys have to go past the reprieve amount of 13 million dollars and cut around 20 million off of their roster to sign draft picks, free agents, and to have room to move next season. That means guys like Roy Williams, Leonard Davis, Marc Columbo, Chris Brown, and crowd favorite Marion Barber all have to go. It is likely that the Cowboys will release these guys and still have to restructure a few contracts like Demarcus Ware's and Tony Romo's. Of the players being released, only Marc Columbo will probably be resigned at a lower rate.
These moves may seem brash but really what do the Cowboys lose in cutting these guys. The Cowboys saved about $15.7 million with three moves. Davis, Williams and Barber netted individual cap savings of $6 million, $5 million and $4.7 million, respectively. Brown was due $910,000 salary this year so that puts the day's savings at $16.6 million.
Clearly, the biggest name on the list was Williams because of his big salary and the bushel of draft picks the Cowboys gave to Detroit to get him in 2008. Williams did not come close to offering a return on the investment and was actually very understanding when Jones called him at his home in Dallas to let him know he was being released for salary-cap reasons.
Barber's release was long expected, considering he had been replaced in the starting lineup by Felix Jones and was scheduled to make a $4.25 million base salary and a $500,000 bonus. He had a career-low 113 carries, 374 rushing yards and four touchdowns last season and has never had a 1,000-yard season in his six seasons despite the Cowboys signing him to a seven-year, $45 million deal in 2008 that included $16 million in guaranteed money. The presence of Tashard Choice and the drafting of rookie DeMarco Murray made Barber even more expendable.
All things being said, the Cowboys have a lot of work to do internally and externally. Hopefully they have learned that throwing money around doesn't always solve your problems. It's time for the scouting department to get back to work and look for good young talent.
Stay Breezy ~ I'm Out!