Cowboys Free Up Cap Space

The Cowboys entered Monday with the worst cap situation in the NFL for 2017, but that’s no longer the case. The club has restructured the contracts of two of its top players, All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith and All-Pro center Travis Frederick, reports Todd Archer of The changes will save Dallas $17.3MM and take the team under the projected $168MM cap for next season.

Tyron Smith

In order to make the contracts of Smith and Frederick less onerous, the Cowboys converted approximately $21MM of the $24MM they’re due in 2017 into signing bonuses, according to Archer. Smith had been set to rake in a $10MM base salary, while Frederick was slated to earn over $14MM.

This is now the second straight year in which the Cowboys have reworked Smith’s contract. Smith, who signed an eight-year, $98MM extension in 2014, ranks first among left tackles in total value and third in both yearly average and guarantees ($22MM-plus). The 26-year-old has started in all 92 appearances since the Cowboys selected him ninth overall in the 2011 draft, and he’s coming off a season in which he ranked 16th among Pro Football Focus’ 78 qualified tackles.

As was the case with Smith, Frederick was hugely instrumental in the success the Cowboys’ Dak Prescott– and Ezekiel Elliott-led offense experienced in 2016. Frederick inked a six-year, $54.6MM extension with $18.2MM fully guaranteed last August, and currently leads all centers in total value and yearly mean. He’s second only to the Falcons’ Alex Mack in guarantees. The 31st pick in 2013, Frederick hasn’t missed a game or a start in four years with the Cowboys. The 25-year-old was PFF’s second-best center in 2016.

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