How the Cowboys can clear cap room

The Dallas Cowboys have a ton of offseason needs, many of which they plan to fill via free agency. But before they can go out and hunt for cornerbacks and safeties and guards and help for the pass rush, they need to know exactly how much salary cap room they have. Calvin Watkins writes that they're about $12.5 million under the projected cap right now, but that they can clear more room by restructuring the contracts of Dez Bryant and some other players:

It's written in wide receiver Dez Bryant's contract the Cowboys can move his $1.4 million roster bonus into signing bonus to create $957,000 of cap space. The Cowboys have done this in the past with several players.

Also, cornerback Orlando Scandrick, who is scheduled to make a base salary of $7.1 million can get that moved to signing bonus money to create cap space as well. Right tackle Doug Free is in the same situation. He's supposed to make $6 million in base salary in 2012 but that could get changed as well.

If the Cowboys move Free and Scandrick's money around, it will lower their salary cap figures and create $8.6 million in cap room.

As Calvin points out, they're also planning to cut cornerback Terence Newman, which could save them another $6 million or $4 million, depending on when they do it. Look for these kinds of moves to get made as the Cowboys position themselves to be very active in free agency when it begins Tuesday afternoon.