Oct 27, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo (9) changes the play at the line of scrimmage during 1st quarter of a game against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

A word about the Dallas Cowboy’s cap situation.


 

Oct 27, 2013; Detroit, MI, USA; Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones prior to a game between the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

The Cowboy’s cap situation is finally becoming news. Bill Barnwell of Grantland wrote a particularly blunt article pointing out how awful the Cowboy’s cap situation is. They are on pace to be 31 million dollars over.

This is not the first time the issue has been covered. Our very own (since departed) CowgirlCas covered the issue in March. The article wasn’t as focused on the specific dollar estimate-after all, free agency was three months away- but it came to a similar conclusion- the contracts didn’t add up to a feasible total. Though I personally don’t agree with everything she wrote, her analysis of the cap seems quite good.

Even though it was written almost eight months ago, the cap numbers still add up. Barnwell believes that DeMarcus Ware may have to be cut in order to make room for Tyron Smith‘s and Dez Bryant‘s sure to be sizable new contracts.

This is basically the most Jerry Jones thing ever. Though using a proper noun as an adjective probably isn’t proper grammatical form (please don’t harass me for any other grammatical errors), I can’t think of another way to express the idea. The real issue isn’t who they signed, but the dollar signs and most importantly the length.

It is astounding that I actually have to articulate it, but football isn’t baseball. While the 9 and 10 year deals in baseball rarely turn out well, they are usually passable until the last two years or so. 3 to 5 year deals tend to work out best, especially for young players such as Matt Moore and Evan Longoria.

Justin Verlander also went this route, though his price tag was considerably higher, as did Chase Headley and Paul Goldschmidt. The position players are likely to earn their salary, since position players typically play most of their games. Pitchers are dicier. But those two classes of players have something in common. They don’t play the most dangerous non-automotive popular sport in North America. They play baseball. Major League Baseball has no cap. So long as teams can suck up the cost they can sign anyone. There is no such thing as dead money.

The Cowboys don’t have that luxury. The long term deals that often must be voided (especially if that deal was completed by the Cowboys) since players get injured all the time rack up dead money.

This dead money constricts the next year’s salary cap and forces teams to restructure contracts.

This is why the “cut Romo” crowd’s issue is absurd. Romo, because of his contract, is basically impervious to any team attempts to cut him; his salary cap hit would be too high.

It also wouldn’t shock me if this is part of the reason Romo’s contract is so long. His signing bonus (what directly impacts the cap) can be spread over the life of the deal. The longer the deal, the less the cap hit per season.

While the Cowboys will never admit it, I can’t imagine it didn’t play a part. But obviously this is just speculation. Tell me what you think in the comments.

 

*Not every long-term contract is a cap issue. Some are just awful contracts. Marion Barber is probably the best example.

**One more thing: I feel like LolzJerry should be a thing. Deadspin created LolzMets and LolzJaguars. Jerry Jones has entered their realm. I’m not going to shamelessly rip off Deadspin’s idea and use it myself, but if you ever need a work to describe Jerry Jones, LolzJerry is probably it.

Tags: Featured Jerry Jones Salary Cap Tony Romo