FRISCO, Texas -- Whenever the 2017 salary cap is finalized, the Dallas Cowboys don’t have to worry about getting under the allowed amount.
On Monday he Cowboys restructured the contracts of All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith and All-Pro center Travis Frederick, freeing up $17.3 million, moving them under a proposed salary-cap of $168 million for 2017, according to sources.
In a simple accounting move, the Cowboys lowered Smith’s $10 million base salary and Frederick’s $14.221 million base salary and turned the difference into signing bonus. Instead of counting $15.8 million (Smith) and $14.871 million (Frederick) against the cap in 2017, they will count $8.82 million and $4.531 million, respectively.
According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Cowboys were slightly more than $13 million over a cap of $170 million before the restructures.
The Cowboys can create more room by restructuring the contracts of linebacker Sean Lee, receiver Dez Bryant and defensive tackle Tyrone Crawford, as well as working on an extension for tight end Jason Witten.
A release of Tony Romo can create either $5.1 million in salary-cap room or $14 million if he is designated a post-June 1 cap casualty, however, they would not gain the credit until June 2.
The Cowboys had planned all along to rework the deals of Smith and Frederick. This is the third straight year they have restructured Smith’s contract. The Cowboys signed Frederick to an eight-year deal last August with the expressed desire for it to be restructured.
Given their age -- Smith doesn’t turn 27 until December; Frederick turns 26 in March -- and productivity, the Cowboys are OK in adding to their cap numbers down the road.
Smith has been named to the Pro Bowl the past four years, and Frederick has been named the past three. Smith is a two-time All-Pro, and Frederick earned the honor for the first time last season.