Cowboys don't plan to be big spenders in free agency

IRVING, Texas -- Beginning at 11 p.m. tonight, the Cowboys can start contacting the agents for free agents.

If you believe what the Cowboys have said, then there’s no need to stay up late trying to figure out who they will be calling.

Executive vice president Stephen Jones said at the NFL scouting combine that the Cowboys can't be as active in the free-agent market as they were last year when they signed seven players, including cornerback Brandon Carr to a five-year, $50-million deal.

The NFL has instituted this three-day legal tampering period to get rid of the illegal tampering that normally occurred at the combine. Teams can entering into negotiations with the agents, but they cannot meet with the players or officially sign them until Tuesday at 3 p.m.

On the first day of free agency last year the Cowboys hosted Carr, Mackenzy Bernadeau and Kyle Orton at Cowboys Stadium, wining and dining them with current players such as Jason Witten, DeMarcus Ware and Miles Austin on hand.

They missed on only one free-agent target: tight end Kellen Davis, who chose to re-sign with Chicago.

The Cowboys still need to pare roughly $6 million before Tuesday just to get under the cap. They can rework the deals on players such as Jay Ratliff and Bernadeau and are waiting to hear if Dan Connor will take a pay cut.

They could also get under the cap by signing Tony Romo to a new deal to reduce his $16.8 million cap figure.