NFL teams are already trying to figure out how to re-shape their roster with what will be a "flat salary cap" in 2013. According to Albert Breer of the NFL Network, don't expect a big increase in the cap for 2014, either.
The Cowboys are not expected to be a major player this offseason in free agency because, once again, they are near the cap limit. In fact, despite consecutive 8-8 records, they are approximately $20 million over the 2013 salary cap of $121 million.
How does this happen to a team that does not make the playoffs, all the time? One reason is that the Cowboys have a history of over-paying their own prospective free agents, all the time. Take a look at the team's history of contract extensions against what the player did after he inked the deal.
Roy Williams, S, 4-years, $25 million, $11 million guaranteed. He was 26 when he signed the extension.
A lack of coverage skills eventually caught up to Williams, who was cut after disappointing years in '08 and '09. Williams was a dominant player in the first few years in the NFL.
Williams spent one season in Cincy in 2010 and then retired.
Sept. 16, 2006
Bradie James, LB, 5-years, $20 million, $8 million guaranteed
A nice player who enjoyed a career year in '08. Lots of tackles in '09, '10 and then little in '11. Cut after '11 season. Spent last season in Houston.
Jason Witten, TE, seven-years, $29.5 million, $12 million guaranteed
One of the top three tight ends in the game.
Oct. 15, 2008
Roy Williams, WR, 5-years, $45 million. $20 million guaranteed
A giant waste. Spent 2-plus seasons with the Cowboys. He was cut after the '10 season. Spent 2011 with the Bears, after which he retired.
June 3, 2008
Terrell Owens WR, four-years, $34 million. $13 million guaranteed
Played one season with the Cowboys after he signed this unnecessary extension. He was cut after the '08 Played one season in Buffalo in '09 and another in Cincy '10. Is currently begging for a NFL job.
May 20, 2008
Marion Barber, RB, seven-years, $45 million, $16 million guaranteed
One of the dumbest extensions this team has ever awarded. Production dropped after signing this extension, mostly because his body could not take the pounding of his running style. Had a decent year in '09 and then did little in '10. He was cut after the '10 season. Spent 2011 with the Bears after which he retired.
May 28, 2009
Terence Newman, CB, six-years, $50.2 million, $22.5 million guaranteed
Spent more more seasons with the Cowboys after he signed this deal. Now with the Bengals.
Sept. 10, 2010
Miles Austin, WR, six-years, $54 million. Guaranteed $18 million
A little frustrating, but fairly productive.
July 26, 2011
Doug Free, OT, four years, $32 million, $17 million guaranteed
Looks horrid now.
Aug 25, 2011
Orlando Scandrick, DB, five-years $27 million, $10 million guaranteed
Not awful, but probably not necessary if the team drafted and developed guys.
Sept. 9, 2011
Jay Ratliff, NT, five-years $40 million, $18 million guaranteed
A cut candidate this offseason.
Sept. 11, 2011
Jason Witten, TE, five-years, $37 million, $19 million guaranteed
One of the best players at his position.
Dec. 9, 2011
Gerald Sensabuagh, S, five-years, $22.5 million; $8 million guaranteed
Plays hurt, reliable, just not many plays from a position that needs them.
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