The Cowboys made a plethora of moves last week to clear more than $20 million in salary to get under the 2013 NFL salary cap of $123 million.
But the decision to place the franchise tag on linebacker Anthony Spencer, guaranteeing him a salary of $10.6 million next season, has put them back in the red.
According to a source, the Cowboys are currently roughly $6 million over the cap and must make moves to clear to room to not only get under the cap by March 12 but also so they can tender contracts to their restricted free agents.
The most ideal way to to clear cap room would be to sign quarterback Tony Romo to long-term contract extension to lower his $16.8 million cap number for next season.
But, according to a source, the Cowboys don't have to re-do Romo to get back under the cap. They can do it by going to back to their initial restructuring plan of a week ago when they adjusted the deals of linebacker DeMarcus Ware, tight end Jason Witten, center Ryan Cook, cornerback Brandon Carr and receiver Miles Austin to clear more than $20 million in cap room.
The Cowboys have verbal agreements in place with nose tackle Jay Ratliff, guards Mackenzy Bernadeau and Nate Livings and cornerback Orlando Scandrick to adjust their contracts to clear cap room. The Cowboys can also turn to backup quarterback Kyle Orton.
The Cowboys are also in the works of lowering linebacker Dan Connor's $4.3 million cap number by making him take a pay cut from his $3 million base salary for next year. If a deal can't be reached, he will be cut.
They also also can clear more room by possibly releasing fullback Lawrence Vickers and defensive end Marcus Spears, saving roughly $1.1 million and $600,000 respectively.
Clarence E. Hill Jr.