The Dallas Cowboys will start their work in getting under the $133 million salary cap by restructuring the contracts of linebacker Sean Lee and cornerback Orlando Scandrick on Tuesday, according to sources.
The moves will create $6.8 million in cap room with the Cowboys still needing to shave roughly $11 million to get under the cap by March 11. The Cowboys will create an additional $10 million in space when they restructure the contract of quarterback Tony Romo.
In re-working the deals for Lee and Scandrick, the Cowboys, according to sources, would knock their base salaries down to $750,000 and turn the difference into signing bonus. Lee was scheduled to count $7.5 million and Scandrick was set to count $6.601 million against the cap.
The Cowboys have major decisions to make in regards to the futures of DeMarcus Ware and Miles Austin. Ware is set to count $16.003 million against the cap but the Cowboys would save $7.4 million by releasing him. It is possible they work out a new deal with Ware, which would also save money against the cap. Austin is set to count $8.249 million against the cap, but the Cowboys can save $5.5 million by designating him a post-June 1 cut when the new league year starts next week.
The Cowboys attempted to get center Phil Costa to take a pay cut but he has refused. Despite reports, the Cowboys have not yet decided to release Costa, but that move would save them $1.5 million.
The Cowboys signed Scandrick to a two-year extension late last season that guaranteed him $9 million. Lee signed a six-year extension worth as much as $51 million last summer.