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Thursday, February 20, 2014
Cowboys to be 'efficient' with deals

By Todd Archer

INDIANAPOLIS -- Dallas Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said the team will be able to do some "efficient" spending in free agency once the dust clears from the salary-cap moves needed by March 11.

That does not mean the Cowboys won't be able to to re-sign wide receiver Dez Bryant and left tackle Tyron Smith to big deals.

Bryant, the Cowboys' first-round pick in 2010, is entering the final year of his contract, while the club holds an option for 2015 for Smith, their first-rounder in 2011. Per the rules of the new collective bargaining agreement, the Cowboys must exercise the option this spring.

Bryant and Smith played in their first Pro Bowls last month. Bryant caught 93 passes for 1,233 yards and 13 touchdowns. Smith has started all but one game since joining the Cowboys and does not turn 24 until December.

"They're not married," Jones said. "We'll look at them and make decisions individually."

The Cowboys could use the franchise tag on either player if necessary. Bryant is set to count $3.898 million against the cap, and Smith is set to count $3.976 million. Long-term deals would likely bring those cap numbers down in 2014.

The Cowboys signed kicker Dan Bailey to a seven-year deal with a lower salary-cap number ($1.7 million) this year than he would have had if they tendered him as a restricted free agent.

"In some cases it can help to do deals [to gain cap space]," Jones said. "I read where someone didn't understand it, 'How could they do Bailey like that?' It didn't hurt us. It helped us."