When the Cowboys started whacking high-priced veterans before last season, it was thought that they would pay a significant price in 2012 because of the negative salary-cap impact.
The releases of Roy Williams, Marion Barber, Marc Colombo, Leonard Davis and Andre Gurode had put roughly $24 million in dead money in the 2012 cap, which is expected to be $120.375 million.
But the Cowboys will head into free agency March 13 with $12.6 million in cap room and thus are in much better shape than anticipated.
The Cowboys can gain even more room by releasing cornerback Terence Newman as expected and restructuring a few deals.
It all means that the Cowboys will be active players in free agency and owner Jerry Jones credits son and vice president Stephen Jones for their increased flexibility.
“I give Stephen a lot of credit for taking a year we thought would be Armageddon for us, and we were able to do some things last year with the cap that puts us and gives us some viability,” Jones said. “Stephen and a lot of the crew he works with regarding the caps, regarding the contracts, all of that has given us a chance to have some room to improve this team this year.
“And we will use it.”