INDIANAPOLIS – Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones knows 8-8 is not good enough.
But as he looks back at the Cowboys’ 8-8 finish in 2013, the view is slightly different.
When asked what the Cowboys have to do to get out of their .500 ways when they are pressed up against the salary cap, Jones first mentioned the team’s health.
“We had a lot of money sitting on the sideline,” Jones said. “To be candid with you, when our season started if you told me that we were going to get the production we got out of [DeMarcus] Ware because of some injury issues, and we were not going to get [Anthony] Spencer at all and not going to get [Jay] Ratliff at all, then I might’ve been concerned and said, ‘We might have a hard time getting to 8-8.’ Now is that our issue because of Spencer’s age or Ware’s age or Ratliff’s age? How much of that is on us? I don’t know, but first of all when you have that kind of money sitting on the sideline of a salary cap and you’ve got a $20 million quarterback (in Tony Romo) then if you might’ve told me if we would go 8-8, I might say, ‘Well, we did all right to survive that,’ because that’s a lot of cap money on the sideline that never played. Wasn’t efficient, I can tell you that.”
Spencer played in 34 snaps and counted $10.6 million against the cap with the franchise tag. Ware counted $8.092 million against the cap after he had his contract restructured and missed three games and played 55 percent of the snaps on the season. Ratliff counted $4.072 million against the cap after his contract was restructured and did not play a down before he was released.
Romo had an $11.8 million cap figure but took home $26.5 million in cash with a $25 million signing bonus and $1.5 million base salary in the first year of his six-year extension. And he did not play in the winner-take-all season finale against the Philadelphia Eagles because of a back injury that required surgery.