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'Cap Hell'? Dak Prescott & How 'Go-For-It' Dallas Cowboys Can Create $88 Million of Room

Is a "Reckless Jerry'' approach something the Dallas Cowboys can do in order to build a better roster inside of the 2022 NFL salary cap of $208 million? Absolutely.
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In August of 2021, the Marvel Cinematic Universe had millions of fans imagining alternative realities and asking themselves the question, “What If…?”

Nick Korte of OverTheCap.com now brings a "what-if'' idea to the NFL, inspiring us to play “Watcher” and visit an alternative Dallas Cowboys reality of our own - a reality in which Cowboys owner, GM, Circus Ring Master and Master Salesman Jerry Jones realizes the opportunity he has with Dak Prescott as potentially the best quarterback in the NFC going into 2022, and decides to throw his son Stephen and his army of conservative cap "Big-Calculator guys'' out of The Star, and go “all-in” for one year.

One time. "Retro-Jerry.'' "Reckless Jerry.''

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What would Jerry have to do to throw open the proverbial championship window for one year and place all his chips in the middle of the table?

The mechanism is simple really, as if you’ve followed the NFL closely for the last several years, you’re familiar with the idea of a team “restructuring” a player’s contract, converting the majority of their base salary into prorated signing bonus and spreading the cap hit out over the remainder of the player’s contract. And if you paid attention last off-season, during the COVID-19 induced salary cap reduction, you became familiar with a concept of “voidable years”, a trick the Cowboys have used for a while to spread that prorated signing bonus out even further, to the maximum of five total years, regardless of the remaining length of the player’s contract. 

Detractors of this method of cap management will call it “kicking the can down the road” and claim that “the credit card bill always comes due”, meaning that this money does not simply disappear, but instead, it is pushed into future years, effectively borrowing future cap space to use in the current year.

But for the sake of the argument: Under Stephen's guidance, Dallas has gotten away from that method, once embraced by "go-for-it'' Jerry ... and how is it working out in terms of championship contention in the last few years? The last decade? The last three decades?

So how would our “Reckless Jerry” use these tricks and what impact would they have on the team’s 2022 salary cap?

Well, he would find every player under contract with the Cowboys for 2022 with a salary greater than the league minimum, and maximize the amount he could restructure by adding the most allowable of voidable years, and spreading the greatest possible amount over those years.

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Here is the list of players he’d be considering, and their current cap information:

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That’s 12 players with a total cap impact in 2022 of nearly $177 million, all with varying contract lengths and sizes, but all candidates for restructure. But what about after "Reckless Jerry'' wields his infinity gauntlet?

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With the snap of his fingers, Reckless Jerry has created over $87 million in new cap room for his Cowboys, leaving them with over $66 million in cap space for 2022, more than any other NFL team, and placing them in prime position to win bidding wars for just about any free agent player he decided to pursue in his chase for the ultimate prize, another Super Bowl win.

But what about the ramifications on the future caps? One quarter of the almost $88 million in savings (almost $22 million) would slide to each of the next four years’ preliminary salary cap calculations for the Cowboys, before settling into individual years depending on when each individual contract ends.

Is "going "Reckless Jerry'' something the Dallas Cowboys should do? Argue away at that. It is something the Dallas Cowboys can do in order to build a better roster inside of the 2022 NFL salary cap of $208 million? Absolutely - and it wouldn't take a super hero to do it. Just some math. 

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