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Sport NFL free agency: Worst of Cowboys' salary cap hell still to come

18:38  20 march  2018
18:38  20 march  2018 Source:   sportingnews.com

AP source: Cowboys put $17.5M franchise tag on DE Lawrence

  AP source: Cowboys put $17.5M franchise tag on DE Lawrence A person with knowledge of the decision says the Dallas Cowboys have placed the franchise tag on DeMarcus Lawrence, guaranteeing the Pro Bowl defensive end $17.5 million in 2018. The Cowboys had until Tuesday to put the tag on Lawrence, who can still sign a long-term deal with the club that traded up him to get him early in the second round in 2014. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday because the decision hasn't been announced.Lawrence tied Jacksonville's Calais Campbell for second in the NFL with 14 1/2 sacks last season.

There is one huge problem with kicking the can down the road when it comes to the NFL salary cap .Eventually, it stops rolling — and so do a team's chances

Dallas has been quiet in 2018 NFL free agency for a reason: Previous mistakes have the Cowboys stuck in a bad salary cap situation. There is one huge problem with kicking the can down the road when it comes to the NFL salary cap . Eventually, it stops rolling — and so do a team's chances of

Dez Bryant wearing a helmet© (Getty Images) Dez Bryant There is one huge problem with kicking the can down the road when it comes to the NFL salary cap. Eventually, it stops rolling — and so do a team's chances of upgrading its roster via free agency with splashy signings.

The 2018 Dallas Cowboys are experiencing this first-hand.

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As of Monday morning, the Cowboys were the NFL's only club not to officially sign a free-agent or re-sign one of their own players since the marketplace opened five days earlier. It's quite the statement considering even franchises that traditionally loath to dip into free agency, like Green Bay and Cincinnati, have done just that.

Ranking all 32 NFL teams by cap space heading into free agency

  Ranking all 32 NFL teams by cap space heading into free agency How much will your favorite team have to spend?Here are the adjusted cap numbers for all 32 teams, courtesy of the NFLPA…

Dallas has been quiet in 2018 NFL free agency for a reason: Previous mistakes have the Cowboys stuck in a bad salary cap situation. Former NFL exec Jeff Diamond explains why ex- Cowboys receiver Dez Bryant is having trouble landing a new deal in NFL free agency .

The Cowboys salary cap situation will be a game of musical chairs in 2020. If Elliott can guarantee himself a seat for several seasons to come by Dallas is nowhere near salary cap hell even if they pay all 3 top contracts. I get so tired of this overly dramatic BS. Anyone who can do math that

It also isn't an accident.

NFL FREE AGENCY 2018:

Winners, losers of open market

Dallas is hamstrung because of previous decisions that left the Cowboys with less salary cap room (around $2 million) than any other team heading into the NFL's calendar year. Two recent transactions — cornerback Orlando Scandrick's release and the restructuring of center Travis Frederick's contract — have given Dallas a bit more breathing space for moves like the re-signing of long snapper L.P. Ladouceur, which reportedly will happen Monday. Reports say Dallas will be meeting with New England tackles Cameron Fleming and LaAdrian Waddle. The arrival of either could pave the way for La’el Collins’ return to left guard.

But as for those top players who were initially available in free agency, that first wave has crested. The Cowboys' top unsigned player was part of it, as linebacker Anthony Hitchens surfed to a five-year, $45 million deal with Kansas City; Dallas simply could not match.

Cowboys release DE Benson Mayowa, save $2.27M on cap

  Cowboys release DE Benson Mayowa, save $2.27M on cap The Cowboys have begun making roster moves in preparation for the new league year.

With the 2016 salary cap projected at roughly 5.3 million for the coming year, Dallas is looking at an estimated million in cap space. Believe it or not, that still puts the Cowboys in the bottom third of the league in total space – teams like the Jaguars, Raiders and Bears have north of million in

The Cowboys and 49ers pioneered salary - cap woes. The other problem with free agency is that players often have played their best football before they became free agents . The Cowboys should have gone young, as they'll discover in the years to come , but owner Jerry Jones couldn't come to

Wide receiver Sammy Watkins, the only outside marquee talent Dallas reportedly tried to sign, also went to the Chiefs.

Had the Cowboys sealed that deal, the cap space needed to sign Watkins would have come from more contract restructures and player releases. Potential targets included wide receiver Dez Bryant, who likely would have been asked to trim his $12.5 million base salary or even jettisoned if an agreement could not be reached.

A major reason the Cowboys find themselves in such straits is the result of Tony Romo's six-year, $108 million contract that was restructured multiple times after it was signed in 2013. The Cowboys felt confident enough Romo would be their long-term starting quarterback that there was not too much concern about the day of reckoning when the conversions of base salaries to guaranteed money for cap relief would come due.

That moment came much earlier than expected last offseason when Romo retired in the aftermath of his 2016 back injury and emergence of then-rookie Dak Prescott. Even with the $17.8 million charge being spread over two seasons, Romo still counts another $8.9 million against the 2018 cap, which was set league-wide at $177.2 million.

NFL free agency 2018: Case Keenum to sign with Broncos, report says

  NFL free agency 2018: Case Keenum to sign with Broncos, report says Case Keenum is ready to parlay his 2017 into a big deal with Denver.The free-agent quarterback will sign with the Broncos when the NFL year begins Wednesday, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported early Tuesday.

Rating the salary - cap flexibility of all 32 NFL teams. When free agency begins the Cowboys will be able to do whatever they want to do. Still , their cap flexibility will remain considerably below the NFL average. Indianapolis Colts: The Colts are in the bottom half of the NFL when it comes to cap space.

2016 NFL calendar: League year, free agency , draft, salary cap deadlines. There are plenty of transactions still to be completed, but we have moved past the phase of big names and big dollars. We’ll see the occasional notable name and the occasional big dollar figure, but for the most part

Per Spotrac.com, Dallas is carrying $14.8 million in dead money (i.e. cap space consumed by players no longer on the roster). The only teams that entered free agency carrying more were Buffalo ($36 million), Arizona ($17.1 million), Kansas City ($16.7 million) and San Francisco ($15.8 million). However, those four franchises still had enough cap space available for multiple big-ticket signings.

And for the Cowboys, the worst may be yet to come.

Dallas was forced to use a $17.1 million franchise tag on defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence to keep him from leaving via free agency. The Cowboys now have until July 15 to negotiate a multi-year deal that would provide some cap relief. Otherwise, almost 10 percent of Dallas’ 2018 salary cap would be dedicated to Lawrence.

Dallas right guard Zach Martin is entering the final year of his contract after the Cowboys failed to strike a new deal with him during the 2017 offseason. He won’t come cheap on a long-term deal, either, especially after fellow (and lesser) guard Andrew Norwell signed a free-agent pact with Jacksonville averaging $13.3 million per season.

Bills sign former Jets linebacker Julian Stanford

  Bills sign former Jets linebacker Julian Stanford The Jets have made several splashes in free agency, but they quietly lost a depth piece to a division rival Wednesday. .Right after the start of the new league year, the Buffalo Bills announced that they had signed former Gang Green linebacker Julian Stanford. Per Per ESPN's Mike Rodak, Stanford's deal is worth $3 million over two years, with $550,000 guaranteed. He could make more based on playing time.

According to Overthecap.com, the Cowboys must have $7.7 million in cap space available before the draft in order to sign their rookie class of 10 picks (the cap number will fluctuate based upon whether the Cowboys add or subtract selections via trade). Dallas ideally would keep another $5 million or so heading into the 2018 regular season to sign replacements when players land on injured reserve.

Plus, it won’t be long before Prescott and running back Ezekiel Elliott will have their hands out seeking lucrative extensions when their rookie contracts become eligible for renewal following the 2018 campaign.

NFL FREE AGENCY 2018:

Grading all notable signings, trades

In the big picture, maybe it’s best Dallas doesn't have the means to dip into free agency sans cap concerns. That's because the Cowboys have a poor track record of signings in recent seasons. The list includes defensive end Greg Hardy, defensive tackle Cedric Thornton and cornerback Nolan Carroll, who counts $2 million against the 2018 cap after being released less than one season into a three-year, $10 million deal signed during the 2017 offseason.

The best way for the Cowboys to remain a viable Super Bowl contender — and Dallas is just that despite its cap situation — is through the same formula that keeps Bryant, Frederick, Martin, left tackle Tyron Smith and linebacker Sean Lee as the team’s cornerstones. That’s drafting wisely and ultimately signing those picks to contract extensions.

Avoiding the mistakes that put the Cowboys in this pickle would help, too.

Alex Marvez can be heard from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. ET Monday through Wednesday on SiriusXM NFL Radio.

Jones shades Eagles, doesn't think gap in NFC East is big .
Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has a way with words. Sometimes, they simply get away from him. In speaking about the discrepancy between his team and the Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles recently, it’s pretty clear where Jones was headed. It was a shade-throwing contest, and we all bore witness to it.

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