Team vice president Stephen Jones, who has carefully and artfully managed the Cowboys through salary cap hell and back, said the Cowboys have the financial resources to do whatever they need to do. They are currently $12.6 million under the cap and can restructure several contracts to acquire more room if need be.
According to a source, the Cowboys have already one financial decision given them financial flexibility by choosing to tender a contract to only one restricted free agent, fullback Tony Fiammetta. Of the others, only wide receiver Kevin Ogletree had a chance of returning next year. If he does return, it will be at a minimum deal, rather than the $1.26 million free agent tender.
It's only the beginning of several huge decisions that must be made in the next couple of weeks. The must decide by March 5 whether to put the franchise tag on linebacker Anthony Spencer, guaranteeing him $8.8 million next season, or let him hit free agency where he is sure to draw big contract on the open market.
"Spencer is a difficult one," Jones said. "He is a helluva player."
Jones said the Cowboys will likely also decide the fate of cornerback Terence Newman before free agency officially begins March 13. He is candidate to be cut because of his age, salary, declining play and injury. The Cowboys can save roughly $6 million by releasing him after June 1.
The Cowboys won't wait that long to decide because if they are not going to bring him back they plan to add a veteran in free agency which is independent of their plans of adding a young cornerback in the draft. The need for multiple cornerbacks is great because only Mike Jenkins and nickel back Orlando Scandrick are set for next season, and Jenkins is in the final year of his contract.
"We will the decision (with Newman) made," Jones said. "We are going to need to decide internally what we are going to do whether we are going the veteran route. We will go with a young guy regardless."
-- Clarence Hill