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Tuesday, April 1, 2014
Cowboys salary-cap update

By Todd Archer

IRVING, Texas -- According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Dallas Cowboys have $5,754,917 in salary-cap space. No, this is not an April Fools’ joke.

That ranks third in the NFC East. The New York Giants check in at $4,438,375. The Philadelphia Eagles have $20,503,670 in room. The Washington Redskins have $6,522,386 in room, but that would shrink if/when wide receiver DeSean Jackson signs.

The Cowboys’ space does not include the $5.5 million that will be gained when Miles Austin's contract comes off the books.

If the Cowboys wanted, they could sign anybody available in free agency. When Brandon Carr signed his five-year, $50 million deal in 2012, his first-year cap number was $3.2 million. If the Cowboys haven’t signed anybody to a large deal by now -- Henry Melton's deal is essentially a one-year, $3.5 million deal now -- they won’t sign anybody to a large deal.

So what will they do with the money?

They would like to keep as much space as possible for their own players, like Tyron Smith, Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray. But they don’t need to rush any deals, either.

The Cowboys will use the fifth-year option on Smith by May 2 if needed to secure their left tackle through 2015. They could use the franchise tag on Dez Bryant after the 2014 season. There is no rush to do a deal with Murray, though as I hinted last week they could get a team-friendly deal done considering how the running back market has worked out.