Orton move could aid Smith, Bryant deals

IRVING, Texas -- As of July 6, the Dallas Cowboys had $8.021 million in salary-cap space, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

With the release of Kyle Orton, that figure should be closer to $10.7 million.

The Cowboys gained $2.707 million in cap space by cutting Orton after calculating the $3.25 million savings, minus Joseph Randle's $542,220 base salary now that he moves into the top 51 contracts that currently count against the cap.

As we’ve talked about before, cap space is always a moving target because the current figures do not include the top 53 contracts, which will count by the time the season starts, the practice squad players, injury settlements and future signings of players needed in case of injuries. Teams also like to leave a cushion in case ‘act of God’ situations arise.

But the extra room does give the Cowboys some more wiggle room in which to work on deals for Tyron Smith, Dez Bryant or both.

The Smith deal will be gigantic, given his age, ability and the desire to lock up the best young left tackle in the NFL. The Bryant deal will be big but not as gigantic.

The Cowboys have already secured Smith’s right for 2015 by picking up the fifth-year option on his rookie deal, but they want to get him locked up for the long term sooner rather than later. His agents visited Valley Ranch a few times in the offseason but it is not known how far along the sides are in negotiations.

Bryant is set to be an unrestricted free agent in 2015, but the Cowboys could also use the franchise tag to keep Bryant for an extra year. The wide receiver tag in 2014 is $12.3 million. The Cowboys want to keep Bryant and Bryant wants to remain with the Cowboys. There have been talks with his agent but nothing pressing.

The Cowboys have used training camp in order to get deals done in the past. Last year the Cowboys signed linebacker Sean Lee to an extension during camp.

Will they continue that trend? We’ll see, but the Orton move at least gives them some more cap space.