The Dallas Cowboys have taken another step to relieve themselves of a $20 million salary cap burden.
It was reported Thursday that Dallas and linebacker DeMarcus Ware have restructured the seven-time Pro Bowler’s contract, which will save the team $4 million against the cap, according to ESPN Dallas.
Essentially the Cowboys morphed $5 million of Ware’s 2013 salary into a signing bonus, and made the final two years of the seven-year $79 million he signed in 2009 "voidable" to save even more cap space over the next several seasons.
The extra space gives Dallas the chance to ink quarterback Tony Romo to a long term extension, and re-sign Anthony Spencer, who was second on the team behind Ware with 11.0 sacks in 2012.
The Cowboys are also reportedly looking to restructure nose tackle Jay Ratliff’s and cornerback Orlando Scandrick’s contracts.
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Team president Stephen Jones said last week the Cowboys have already started negotiations with Romo, who is ranked first in Dallas history in passing touchdowns and second in passing yards. Romo is entering the final year of his contract, and is reportedly scheduled to make $16.8 million.
However, Dallas is looking to reduce that number and use the extra space on its defensive front.
Spencer almost doubled his career season-high sack total last season, and played in just 14 games. The 29-year-old is seen as the cream of the crop in terms or linebackers as free agency approaches. A report from FOX Sports Southwest said last week that Dallas would not franchise Spencer, due to the $10.6 million it would cost.
A healthy Ratliff, along with Spencer and Ware, could rejuvenate a Dallas pass rush that made a startling drop off last season. The Cowboys were 20th in the league in sacks in 2012, after ranking seventh in 2011 with 42 sacks.
Ratliff was sidelined with groin and ankle injuries last season, and snapped his streak of four straight Pro Bowls.