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March 07, 2014

Cowboys are under the cap, ready for the start of free agency

The Cowboys took the final steps to get under the 2014 salary cap Friday with the release of center/guard Phil Costa and the restructuring of guard Mackenzy Bernadeau's contract.

The Cowboys saved $1.5 million by cutting Costa. The terms of Bernadeau's restructure are not yet known but he was due to make $2.75 million in base salary next year. The team likely turned as much $2 million on it into signing bonus to help lower his cap figure.

Considering the Cowboys were less than $600,000 over the salary cap of roughly $134.25 million heading into the day, the moves were more than enough to meet the targeted number.

The Cowboys needed to be in compliance by the start of free agency on March 11.

The moves concluded a whirlwind week in which the cap-strapped Cowboys cleared roughly $20 million cap room, led by the restructures of quarterback Tony Romo, linebacker Sean Lee and cornerback Orlando Scandrick to cleary nearly $17 million alone.

The Cowboys can game more space with the expected release of receiver Miles Austin and save $5.5 million. And the Cowboys still have a decision to make on defensive end DeMarcus Ware.

The Cowboys informed Ware early this week that they want him to return next year but have no intentions of paying him his $12.75 million salary. Ware has been asked to take a pay cut or face being cut from the roster.

The Cowboys would save another $7.4 million by releasing Ware. 

Ware has said he would listen to the Cowboys thoughts on a pay cut but has no intention of taking a major shave in salary. According to source, Ware expects to be coveted as a free agent if released.

Clarence Hill


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