IRVING, Texas -- Part 1 of the Dallas Cowboys' Twitter mailbag is ready.
In it we discuss:
What happened to financial discipline?
Dez Bryant's cap number
Brandon Carr's contract
Greg Hardy verus Charles Haley
Moving on up in the draft
Away we go:
@toddarcher: You raise a great question. The Cowboys' financial discipline was lauded in their decision not to pay DeMarco Murray, but then they went over their budget for Greg Hardy. Yes, he only counts $3.2 million against the cap right now, but it's possible he will count $11.3 million by the end of the season. We're not privy to the negotiations, but the Cowboys appeared to be negotiating against themselves in the talks with Drew Rosenhaus. How much did the Cowboys come up late in the process to secure Hardy? We'll never know but they clearly weren't going to lose the player. The Cowboys will be able to absorb Hardy's cap hit this year, but in order to do so they will have to restructure Tony Romo's contract. The Cowboys planned on doing it all along, but only a small chunk of the deal. Now they will likely have to re-work $16 million of Romo's $17 million base salary, which will take away cap dollars in 2016-19. In more ways than one Hardy had better pay off for the Cowboys.
@toddarcher: Yes, a long-term deal for Dez Bryant would help the Cowboys cap in 2015, but they would still need to re-work that chunk of Romo's salary that I talked about. But I don't think you will see a long-term deal for Bryant by the July 15 deadline. That's just my guess right now. I talked about financial discipline earlier, and I believe the Cowboys have a number and structure in mind for Bryant and will not exceed it. Right now I believe the Cowboys will place the franchise tag on Bryant again in 2016 and pay him $28 million over these next two seasons.
@toddarcher: Let's make it three straight questions on the salary cap. They won't restructure him. That's not wise. A restructure would just add money to his cap figure in the future and they don't want to do anything close to that. They won't do nothing either. While they can pay him $8 million and have him count $12.7 million against the cap, they don't want him to earn that much and cost that much. I don't see them cutting him either because the need at cornerback is so great. So what's left? They're talking about a paycut now. When will it happen? To me it comes down this spring after the money and job opportunities dry up elsewhere. The Cowboys did this same deal when they gave Doug Free a pay cut two years ago.
@toddarcher: That's the easy comparison and I think it's apt. Now, it cost a lot more cash to get Hardy than it did Charles Haley. Clearly the trade for Haley worked out and it helped get Haley selected for induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Cowboys need Hardy to have a Haley-like impact, maybe even more than a Haley-like impact. The Cowboys defense now is not as good as it was when Haley arrived. It was OK in 2014 but lost four solid contributors in free agency so far. The return of Sean Lee will help. A more experienced DeMarcus Lawrence will help too. But they've got questions. Hardy could help answer a lot of them.
@toddarcher: I don't see it happening. And I think they would have to make a pretty good leap from No. 27 to take Trae Waynes. Here's why I don't see the Cowboys making any big moves up in the draft: They need as many players as possible. The draft is the best way to get them. They gave up their third rounder to get Lawrence last year. I just can't see them risking giving up more picks to move up. The more likely scenario, to me, is moving down and acquiring picks. The more picks, the better. The Cowboys need to find depth to help fill out this team and offset their big cap numbers at the top end of the roster.