We know that the Dallas Cowboys are having free agents in for visits this week, and that the names include safeties Michael Huff and Will Allen and linebacker Justin Durant. We also know that the Cowboys have about $100,000 in salary-cap room, which means they can't right now sign any of those guys. And we know that their clearest way to salary-cap relief at this point lies in their ability to work out contract extensions with quarterback Tony Romo and defensive end Anthony Spencer that would reduce those players' respective 2013 cap numbers of $16.8 million and $10.6 million.
So, about those extensions. How are they going?
Well, some guy on Twitter told me today that the Romo extension was "hours away" and would be for $68 million ($30 million guaranteed) over four years. But I have been unable to find much on this guy's reporting background, so I'm assuming he's guessing, though the numbers would make some sense. (That'd be a team-favorable deal, I'd think, in the current market.) In all seriousness, I believe the Romo deal eventually gets done, though I'm not going to join my Twitter friend in guessing as to the hours remaining in the negotiations.
As for the Spencer deal, a considerably more reputable source named Ed Werder tweeted that the Cowboys were at work on a multiyear deal for him as well, and that it could free up space to sign Huff and/or offensive lineman Brandon Moore. (Ed has Moore's first name wrong on that tweet, but he later clarified.) Spencer has the upper hand in negotiations with the Cowboys, since they've already franchised him for 2013 and his worst-case scenario includes $10.6 million in guaranteed money. So any contract he signs with them will surely include at least that much in guarantees. But since they appear to be all-in on Spencer as a starting defensive end in their new 4-3 alignment, it would be a coup for the Cowboys to lock him up long term and reduce the 2013 cap hit in the process. I still think he's being overpaid off of one very good year, but the Cowboys like him and have decided to go with him, so from their perspective a long-term deal would be a nice get.
As for the names? Huff and Moore would be excellent pickups for the Cowboys, who need a veteran safety and all the help they can get at guard. The issue is of course making room for them in the budget, but it's not crazy to think that, if they're bringing these guys in for visits, they're feeling better about their chances of getting either Romo's deal or Spencer's deal done sometime soon. Who knows? Could be "hours away."