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March 02, 2013

Cowboys sign restricted-free agent center Phil Costa to two-year deal, save cap room

The Cowboys signed center Phil Costa to a two-year contract worth $2.7 million and saved roughly $350,000 in the process, according to a source.

Costa was set to become a restricted free agent and would been tendered a $1.323 million contract in 2013.

The new deal includes a $450,000 signing bonus but he will only count $975,000 against the cap.

Injuries wrecked Costa’s season in 2012. He missed much of training camp with a back injury and then re-aggravated the injury in the season opener. He missed four games before returning for two games and then dislocating his ankle, sidelining him for the rest of the season.

The three-year veteran, who made the team as undrafted free agent in 2010, started every game in 2011.

Costa is expected to return to the starting lineup in 2013. Ryan Cook started in his place last season.

The cap-friendly deal for Costa follows one the Cowboys made with long snapper L.P. Ladouceur last Thursday and is the latest in a number of cost-saving moves by the team to help manage the salary cap. The Cowboys also restructured the contracts of several veterans, including linebacker DeMarcus Ware, receiver Miles Austin, tight end Jason Witten, Cook and cornerback Brandon Carr.

The team has guards Mackenzy Bernadeau and Nate Livings, cornerback Orlando Scandrick and defensive tackle Jay Ratliff on stand by to restructure their deals if they need further cap room.

Look for the Cowboys to clear further room in the next week by releasing a couple of veterans. Possible targets include defensive end Marcus Spears, fullback Lawrence Vickers, linebacker Dan Connor and safety Gerald Sensabaugh.

 Clarence Hill

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