1:53pm: Joel Corry of CBSSports.com clarifies (via Twitter) that it appears the Cowboys converted exactly $16MM of Romo’s salary into a bonus, rather than the maximum allowable $16.03MM. That slightly affects our calculations below, but the general cap implications are essentially identical.
12:51pm: According to reports by the Dallas Morning News and Pro Football Talk (Twitter link), the Cowboys have now converted about $16MM of Romo’s 2015 base salary into a signing bonus, as explained below.
12:17pm: According to Todd Archer of ESPNDallas.com (via Twitter), Romo’s restructure isn’t official yet, but it will be within in the next day or so.
12:02pm: In order to accommodate the re-signing of Rolando McClain and additional forthcoming moves, the Cowboys have created some extra cap space by restructuring Tony Romo‘s contract, according to Rand Getlin of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter). Getlin reports that the move saves the team nearly $13MM in cap space.
Romo, who turns 35 later this month, had been slated to count for $27.773MM against the cap in 2015, including a $17MM base salary. Assuming it’s a simple restructure for Romo, the team likely reduced his base salary to the minimum $970K, turning $16.03MM into a signing bonus. That bonus would then be prorated over the final five years of his contract at a rate of $3.206MM per year, lowering his ’15 cap number to $14.949MM. That would work out to $12.824MM in cap savings, which is the most room the Cowboys could create without their starting quarterback taking a pay cut.
The Cowboys had been down to about $2MM or less in cap space, so such a move was probably necessary, and will give the team room to sign its draft picks, as well as McClain and possibly other free agents. Still, it makes Romo’s contract more unwieldy in its later years. From 2016 to 2019, the QB’s cap hits will increase by more than $3MM annually. The move will also increase the post-2015 dead money on Romo’s deal from $19.135MM to $31.959MM.
While Romo’s restructure figures to increase speculation that the Cowboys will make a run at Adrian Peterson, the club would still need to make at least one more move to accommodate such an addition, unless the Vikings running back were to rework his contract or accept a pay cut as part of a trade.