For some, it was a little depressing to see the cash and cap figures being sunk into some players that have not lived up to the billing.
In an effort to make you feel a little better, here are 10 bargains on the Cowboys roster.
Safety Barry Church ($1 million base salary, $1.5 million cap figure): He led the Cowboys in tackles in 2013 and was able come back after tearing an Achilles in 2012. The Cowboys were mocked by some when they gave Church an extension when he was hurt, but they have a starting player -- and good player at that -- at an excellent price.
Defensive end George Selvie ($730,000 base salary, $730,000 cap figure): Why are the numbers the same? The Cowboys did not give him a bonus when he joined the team in training camp last summer. They also locked him up for two years. Selvie had a career-high seven sacks last year and started every game. There’s a chance he could be the most decorated defensive linemen returning from 2013, which is also somewhat scary.
Running back DeMarco Murray ($755,469 base salary, $946,094 cap figure): He is coming off his first 1,000-yard season and his first Pro Bowl appearance. He is also entering the last year of his contract, which means he would be due for a pay raise depending on how 2014 plays out for him. This is great value for a player who means as much to the Cowboys as Murray.
Left tackle Tyron Smith (2.079 million base salary, $3.976 million cap figure): Factoring in age and ability, he is the Cowboys’ best player. He is technically entering the final year of his rookie contract and will be rewarded handsomely. The question is when? The Cowboys hold a fifth-year option on Smith that they must exercise this spring. They could also try to work out a long-term deal with him, but the cost will be high. Don’t worry, he’s not going anywhere.
Wide receiver Dez Bryant ($1.78 million base salary, $3.898 million cap figure): He is entering the final year of his deal and the Cowboys can always use the franchise tag on him. He has had back-to-back 90-catch, 1,000-yard seasons to go with 25 touchdown catches. He is dynamic and also made his first Pro Bowl appearance. Like Smith, don’t worry, he’s not going anywhere.
Center Travis Frederick ($717,274 base salary, $1.561 million cap figure): He is entering his second year so he figures to be on this list for a few more years. He stabilized the line and proved the Cowboys right in their decision to trade down last April.
Kicker Dan Bailey ($900,000 base salary, $1.7 million cap figure): Many people were caught by surprise by the length of Bailey’s new deal, but they missed the real factor: his cap number this year is lower than what it would have been had he been tendered as a restricted free agent. He has won a third of the Cowboys’ games the last three seasons.
Left guard Ronald Leary ($495,000 base salary, $495,000 cap figure): He started every game in 2013 after the team put a big-time investment in him in 2012 as an undrafted free agent. Is he perfect? No. Is there a concern with his knee? Yes. But he gives the Cowboys a good anchor on the interior and will be at a good price for a few more years.
Longsnapper L.P. LaDouceur ($885,000 base salary, $1.005 million cap figure): Another specialist on the list? Yeah. Maybe it speaks to the lack of depth on the roster or maybe I’m reaching. But if you’re looking for a big reason for Bailey’s success, look at Ladouceur. He has been perfect since coming to town in 2005.
Wide receiver Dwayne Harris ($645,000 base salary, $655,000 cap figure): He has proven to be a top-flight return man. He could get the chance to be more of a factor in the offense in 2014 as well. He won a game with a TD catch and a punt return last year.