News: BTB: The Dallas Cowboys 2011-2017 Salary Cap Health Manifesto Part I: You've Been Lied To

Discussion in 'Fan Zone' started by NewsBot, Mar 3, 2014.

  1. NewsBot

    NewsBot New Member

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    Dallas Cowboys "cap mismanagement" seems to be a trending topic recently. We'll explain why it just isn't so.

    Well, that escalated quickly.

    Impending doom, approaching with rapid velocity. That's pretty much the picture painted whenever ESPN, or those that follow their lead, discussed the Cowboys salary cap management process. Since 2010, people have been waiting, predicting, begging for the Dallas star to implode upon itself in the same fashion which scientists wait to watch Eta Carinae go supernova. Sorry Jimmy K's and Evan Silva's of the world. It ain't hapnin.

    On Friday, we received word from ESPN's Adam Schefter that the salary cap for the NFL over the next few years would be as follows: $133 million in '14 (known for about a week), $140 million in '15 (say what?) and $150 million for 2016 (Bwahahahahaha!)

    For the past few weeks, I've had the crux of this article on hold, just waiting for the official announcement of the 2014 salary cap. The original projection was that it would climb to about $126.5 million and at that point, I was still prepared to show the world that the constant concern and consternation over how the Cowboys do "their thing" was much ado about nothing. Now? The concept of "Cowboys Cap Hell" is laughable.

    It's almost disappointing to me, as the narrative will undoubtedly become, "Dallas sure did get bailed out by that surprise cap increase!" You've probably already heard it. Unless it's your momma, slap whoever is saying it. Dallas would have been fine. Now? Sweet Baby Jesus In The Manger!

    For clarity purposes, allow me to sidebar. When I penned the road map to Dallas blowing up their roster back in December, not once did I use the cap situation as a reason for the team to make such maneuvers. That was a plan laid out for those that think Dallas' roster incapable of providing a championship contender as constituted. These are two different conversations. This exercise is assuming Dallas plans to move forward with it's roster's core, while building around instead of outright replacing.

    Just so people don't try and change the narrative, let's review the back story behind this incorrect sentiment. For the last three years, we've heard how Dallas has completely screwed up the management of their cap. They'd sign people to ridiculous contracts that pay them for years of service that will never be fulfilled. They ‘kick the can down the road' by converting base salaries into signing bonuses and that does nothing but put money on the books for years after said player will be in their prime. This keeps Dallas from being able to walk away from players that under-perform, because the cap hits would be too prohibitive to release them. Doing these things will lead the Cowboys to at some point have to walk away from young stars because they will not have the cap space to pay them what they are worth.


    In Jason Garrett's first full year as head coach, 2011, Dallas and the NFL were coming out of the lockout and working under the brand new CBA. A CBA that included new provisions on how the cap would work (a percentage of total revenue that would now account for player benefits) with Cowboys owner Jerry Jones being an integral part in it's development and negotiation. A CBA that reduced the total amount teams could spend from $123m to $120m.

    The Cowboys were approximately $18 million over the cap with a bunch of players with lots of money remaining on bad deals. They kicked them all to the curb to start the rebuilding process under Garrett: Leonard Davis, Andre Gurode, Roy Williams, Marion Barber, Marc Columbo. Dallas miss any of these guys? Did any of them go to another team and rock out? Was Dallas forced to walk away from any players strictly for cap reasons? No? Oh.

    But surely, this way of managing their cap would keep Dallas from pursuing free agents that it would have liked to bring into the fold! Never mind the fact that Dallas offered free agent corner Nnamdi Asomugha a four-year, $40 million contract that had all of Cowboys nation in a tizzy over a couple days. This all happened after Dallas signed Doug Free to a four-year, $32 million contract two days earlier. Don't let that enter into the narrative.

    To top it off, Dallas went ahead and handed defensive tackle Jay Ratliff a five-year, $40m, $18m guaranteed extension two years before his current deal would expire. We'll get back to that in a second.


    Turn the page to 2012, who did Dallas lose from '11? Laurent Robinson and Terrance Newman. Many wanted Newman gone from the Dallas equation at the time. He got targeted and hurdled down the stretch of the season, his PFF grades were sub-par, but most were frustrated with his constant face-guarding and dropping interceptions when he was turned around. Yes, he has played at a pro level since being in Cincy, but that doesn't change the situation then.

    Laurent Robinson cashed in on his one season of greatness with a ridiculous contract from Jacksonville. Dallas would have been fools to match the 5-year, $32.5m deal with $14m guaranteed. Oh, Robinson lasted one season before being released. Tony Romo made that man $14 million.

    The also walked away from Bradie James, Keith Brooking and Kyle Kosier. Any of those moves greatly regretted?

    Who did Dallas add? Only Brandon Carr with a 5-year, $50 million deal. Oh, they also just signed the most expensive backup quarterback option in Kyle Orton. Oh, and they signed Mack Bernadeau and Nate Livings en route to a record haul of seven (seven!) free agents within three days after the stat of free agency. Oh, they also franchise tagged Anthony Spencer for $8.8m to start it all off. Not bad for a cap-strapped team. Oh yeah, the NFL also hit them with a surprise $5 million cap penalty for 2012 and 2013.


    That brings us to 2013's cap management. Thanks to the second $5m penalty, Dallas entered last offseason $18 million above the cap of $123 million. There was talk that Dallas would have to release Doug Free and Jay Ratliff among others in order to just make it to the season. Now, there were definitely two camps of thought over whether or not Jay Ratliff was a needed talent. Plenty argued he had never played up to the extension Jerry Jones gave him. Other's argued that although he didn't get the accolade stats, Ratliff was still plenty disruptive. Regardless of which was correct, Dallas didn't have to release Ratliff to get under the cap. They also were able to reduce Free's contract, which was most deserving based on Free's egregious efforts over the first two years of his deal.

    The guys Dallas did walk away from heading into 2013? Dan Connor, Mike Jenkins, Gerald Sensabaugh, Victor Butler, John Phillips. Any major losses there? No? Okay then.

    Dallas didn't have the cap space to sign anybody in free agency for 2013 however. Except for making $10.6m in space to franchise tag Anthony Spencer for the second year in a row! After they had restructured enough contracts to make that happen, Dallas went ahead and inked their franchise quarterback to a six-year, $108m extension with $55m guaranteed.

    The real issue though, like what was discussed earlier, is that Dallas wouldn't be able to keep their young stars in tow. That's why they had to give up on Sean Lee. Wait, they signed him to a six-year, $42m extension in August. They also had enough spare change in the cushion to sign G Brian Waters in-season. There goes that meme.

    Or did it? After all of this evidence, year after year, we are still reading tweets and articles, seeing stories on national sport shows about how Dallas is mismanaging themselves into oblivion.

    No one is trying to paint a picture that Dallas hasn't made mistakes in dealing with the cap in the past. However, the idea that they have handcuffed themselves is pretty short-sighted. Have they built a winner? No. Did they give extensions to players that might have been risky investments? Yes. Did they do it without forethought? Absolutely not.

    All of this brings us to the offseason leading into the 2014 offseason. Dallas once again finds themselves over the cap with a lot of work to do over the next week to get things in the right place. Each NFL team has to be under the cap with their Top 51 by the beginning of the new league year, March 11th.

    Dallas is so concerned about their ability to do this, they went ahead and signed RFA super kicker Dan "Split'Em" Bailey to a six-year extension through 2020 back in January. The deal averages $3m per season.

    That was when everyone expected the cap to come in around $126.5 million. Well, publicly, everyone.

    What Did Dallas Know?

    Here's what the naysayers want you to believe. Because of the fact that Dallas mismanaged the salary cap back... when it was first invented, they have been unable to develop any sort of feasible plan since then. Because Dallas hasn't been able to build a consistent winner on the field, they could not possibly have any financial acumen in the front office.

    Despite the fact that Jerry Jones has built the Dallas team into the most profitable NFL franchise and second-highest earning sports franchise in the known universe, their ability to comprehend the rules of the salary cap is nil. Despite the fact that Jerry Jones was highly instrumental in negotiating and building the framework of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement that contains the revised salary cap and benefit rules, they would have no clue how to approach it.

    How would that even be possible in a land where deep thought isn't outlawed?

    It is my contention, that not only did Dallas have a good plan in place for the incremental increases of the last few seasons, they also saw this balloon jump coming a mile away.

    The newest TV deal was signed back in December of 2011. It bumped the annual rake from $1.93 billion to $3 billion. You know when the old TV deal expired? After the 2013 season! The initial response was that salary caps would take a huge jump in 2014, but that was squashed because, well, the media doesn't take the time to understand the cap.

    Everyone instead has been working off of the word of Patriots owner Robert Kraft, who warned that the salary cap would only be making incremental increases even after the new money kicked in.

    "I don't think what happened in 2006 will happen in the future here, because if you understand the labor agreement and the long-term part of this, there will be a smooth growth."

    He's a freaking owner people! It's in his best interest in negotiating contracts to have the other side believe that there would be limited growth! As our own Tom Ryle pointed out in his quest to get to the bottom of things back in 2012, the NFLPA was not buying Kraft's public stance.

    But league sources told the NFLPA has advised players and agents that the salary cap will see "significant growth" in 2014 "and beyond." So, there's a stark difference between Kraft's quote and the NFLPA's message.

    But everyone fell for it and now that the new TV deal has kicked in, flanked by the new CBS Thursday night game package, we're seeing that Kraft was completely full of it. If you want to believe that the Cowboys just got really, really fortunate with these unanticipated jumps, so be it. I'll look at things a bit differently.


    Coming Up in Part II: A Detailed Look at how and how far Dallas can get under the 2014 cap, as well as how they'll retain their upcoming free agents.

    Continue reading...
  2. CowboyStar88

    CowboyStar88 Well-Known Member

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    Great article. I know some won't like it because it goes against the jones boys don't know what they are doing mantra. But SJ did say sometime back that he wasn't worried about the cap and that they could sign who they wanted. Maybe he opened his mouth and let the cat out of the bag at that time. But it does make sense that they could've seen this coming or knew what was going to happen. IF they did know well shoot maybe they aren't just a couple of idiots after all.
    Carharris2 and CowboyMike like this.
  3. CyberB0b

    CyberB0b Village Idiot

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    So if we are good at drafting and free agency, why are we so talent poor on defense? Honest question. Why are we the only team doing it like this?
  4. Common Sense

    Common Sense Well-Known Member

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    It's hard to take this article seriously coming off of back-to-back-to-back-to-back non-winning seasons.
    khiladi, NJ22, Blackspider214 and 5 others like this.
  5. morasp

    morasp Well-Known Member

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    How much of our cap was sitting on the sidelines or playing for other teams?
  6. Common Sense

    Common Sense Well-Known Member

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    Also, why does almost every single argument in the article sound like, "Oh yeah? Well if Dallas didn't have any cap space, how did they sign THIS underperforming player?" As if salary cap mismanagement means they just lose the money under the coach somewhere instead of handing it out to players who don't help create winning seasons.
    khiladi likes this.
  7. WPBCowboysFan

    WPBCowboysFan Well-Known Member

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    The article has to do with the salary cap and managing it with the future in view. Knowing the cap and how it will grow in the future is a separate issue from having players that are good.

    Article posted - [​IMG]

    Article doesnt fit the typical bash Jerry narrative - [​IMG]

    Article will get "refute like" comments in typical Twilight Zone fashion - [​IMG]

    Numerous posts will be based in denial and willfully ignoring the evidence - [​IMG]

    Nothing at all will resemble any critical thinking in this thread - [​IMG]

    Thread will be a minimum 5 pages - [​IMG]

    Life in the Zone will continue with the same parroted responses no matter what's presented about the FO - [​IMG]
  8. stasheroo

    stasheroo Well-Known Member

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    Exactly what I was thinking.

    A lot of arrogance and "I told ya so!" while talking about a team mired in mediocrity.
  9. LOBO7

    LOBO7 Active Member

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    If thats the case then great. Lets go. Sign someone. hurry.
    SilverStarCowboy likes this.
  10. Manwiththeplan

    Manwiththeplan Well-Known Member

    10,143 Messages
    3,522 Likes Received can't be serious. blame the back to back to back to back non winning seasons on the personnel moves we did make, but the money has been there each season. we just haven't used it wisely and contrary to some people's opinion, we haven't drafted well, specifically in the later rounds.
    Smith22, Carharris2 and CowboyMike like this.
  11. Alexander

    Alexander What's it going to be then, eh?

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    Changing defensive coordinators like underwear is part of the problem. If we had a sound organization, shedding a coordinator should not cause massive philosophical changes. But since we lack that firm vision of what we want in our defense, that is why we have a hard time finding talent. That takes a lot of time to forge. Garrett has been in place for what, seven years, and that is why you see a little more stability there.

    Fact of the matter is, changing from Parcells' 3-4 to Phillips 3-4 to Ryan's version now the direct opposite with the Tampa system has created a lot of confusion in the evaluation process. We also have had poor assistant coaches providing "input" and a personnel department that was very confused as a result.
    khiladi likes this.
  12. Hoofbite

    Hoofbite Well-Known Member

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    Great question. Better yet, why isn't it winning?
  13. Risen Star

    Risen Star Likes Collector Zone Supporter

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    Nothing to see here. We can sign anyone we want. We just don't want to.
    Doomsay and stasheroo like this.
  14. daveferr33

    daveferr33 Well-Known Member

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    Absolute shame what has happened to that Blog after Raf left.
  15. Zimmy Lives

    Zimmy Lives Well-Known Member

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    I may post negative things about Jerry and his ability to evaluate talent and manage his roster but you will never see me cry doom and gloom over the salary cap or Jerry's mismanagement of it.

    I have said all along (since SJ came out last year and said the cap would prevent the Cowboys from being a major player in FA) that the Cowboys will do what they need to do to get the players they think they need to win. Of course they still need to be prudent in managing existing contracts.
    Kaiser, 5Stars, BIGWAY and 1 other person like this.
  16. Common Sense

    Common Sense Well-Known Member

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    I agree with you, but you missed my point. Cap mismanagement is tied to personnel. It's not like Jerry is going to take that $134 million and lose it under the couch cushion somewhere. Mismanagement is simply handing out the wrong amount of money to the wrong players (or structuring it incorrectly, etc., but it still comes down to the amount of production you get for every salary cap dollar). There's nothing else that it even can be. The article's argument is fallacious.
    stasheroo likes this.
  17. MichaelWinicki

    MichaelWinicki "You want some?" Staff Member

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    I think I'm going to blow that picture up and given to my buddy Risen Star for Christmas... I can see the tears of joy running down his cheeks now.
    Risen Star and OhSnap like this.
  18. Alexander

    Alexander What's it going to be then, eh?

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    They will do what they need to do to stay afloat. The issue is being able to manage their way out of personnel mistakes without having the safety net of free agency. They do not afford themselves that luxury by continuing the practice of awarding extensions over and over. And that will never change.

    At this stage, all you can do is hope for the draft to improve, especially when it comes to the later rounds and there are a few hits to shore up depth.
    khiladi and Zimmy Lives like this.
  19. Vinnie2u

    Vinnie2u Well-Known Member

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    All that is good and fine.... But Jerry is still extending and Re-structuring players IE Romo, Who have not won a thing.... I can see doing this if we were perenial SB contenders .. But we are not... This team should of been blown up years ago...Jerry is just giving everybody a false sense of hope.. Pull the Plug... Were on life support.. Face the music
    stasheroo, daveferr33 and RS12 like this.
  20. Zimmy Lives

    Zimmy Lives Well-Known Member

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    This is my biggest beef with the Jones Boys. They may know what they are doing with the cap but they are challenged on personnel management and talent evaluation.

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