Cowboys release linebacker Connor, restructure contracts

Posted Monday, Mar. 11, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
A

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

The Dallas Cowboys still have work to do if they hope to be players in the free agent market.

But for now, the Cowboys are salary-cap compliant and that was the biggest goal heading into Tuesday’s 3 p.m. deadline for the start of free agency.

The Cowboys, who entered Monday roughly $6.8 million above the 2013 salary cap of $123 million, made a bevy of moves to clear salary room, putting them roughly $175,00 under, per a source.

They released veteran linebacker Dan Connor and restructured the contracts of nose tackle Jay Ratliff, cornerback Orlando Scandrick and guard Mackenzy Bernadeau.

The release of Connor and his $3 million base salary was the biggest chunk.

The team had talked to Connor about taking a pay cut to reduce his salary before deciding to release him.

Ratliff had $3.66 million in base salary converted to signing bonus, helping save the Cowboys $2.93 million against the cap.

Scandrick and Bernadeau also had base salaries converted to signing bonuses to reduce their cap hit for 2013.

The group joins linebacker DeMarcus Ware, tight end Jason Witten, receiver Miles Austin, center Ryan Cook and cornerback Brandon Carr in restructuring their contracts to help the Cowboys clear cap room.

Connor is the second veteran released for cap purposes, joining safety Gerald Sensabaugh.

Connor signed a two-year contract with the Cowboys in 2012 but he lost the training camp battle with Bruce Carter for a starting spot at inside linebacker. He eventually started eight games last season as an injury replacement for Carter and Sean Lee and made 58 tackles. With Lee and Carter both returning for next season and the team moving to a 4-3 defense from the 3-4, $3 million was too much to pay for a backup linebacker.

The Cowboy’s $175,000 under the cap is not enough to make them major players in free agency.

The Cowboys planned to be bargain shop anyway. As of now, they don’t even have enough money to sign their draft picks.

The Cowboys can re-work a few more deals to create some wiggle room, but to accomplish anything of substance this off-season they need to extend quarterback Tony Romo‘s contract and lessen his $16.8 million salary cap hit for 2013 and/or sign linebacker Anthony Spencer to a long-term contract extension. The team placed the franchise tag on Spencer last week to keep him off the free-agent market, guaranteeing him $10.6 salary for next season.

Clarence E. Hill Jr., 817-390-7760

Twitter: @clarencehilljr

Looking for comments?

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse, images, internet links or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?





Saturday, August 30Full Scoreboard
NY Yankees0Final | Box
Toronto «2
Detroit3Final | Box
Chicago WSox «6
Chicago Cubs «5Final | Box
St. Louis1
Cincinnati2Top 8th | Box
Pittsburgh3@theBallpark | TV: FS1, FSN-OH, ROOT-PIT
Minnesota 8/30 7:05 PM ET
Baltimore TV: FSN-N, MASN
Miami 8/30 7:10 PM ET
Atlanta TV: FSN-FL, FSN-S
Detroit 8/30 7:10 PM ET
Chicago WSox TV: FSN-DET, WGN
Texas 8/30 7:10 PM ET
Houston TV: TXA-21, CSN-HOU
Cleveland 8/30 7:10 PM ET
Kansas City TV: STO, FSN-KC
Philadelphia 8/30 7:10 PM ET
NY Mets TV: CSN-PHI, WPIX
Boston 8/30 7:10 PM ET
Tampa Bay TV: NESN, Sun Sports
Colorado 8/30 8:10 PM ET
Arizona TV: ROOT-RM, FSN-AZ
Chicago Cubs 8/30 8:15 PM ET
St. Louis TV: CSN-CHI, FSN-MW
Los Angeles 8/30 8:40 PM ET
San Diego TV: SportsNet LA, FSN-SD
Oakland 8/30 9:05 PM ET
LA Angels TV: CSN-CA, FSN-W
Milwaukee 8/30 9:05 PM ET
San Francisco TV: FSN-WI, NBC Bay Area
Washington 8/30 9:10 PM ET
Seattle TV: MLB Net, MASN 2, ROOT-NW
Full Scoreboard
Saturday, August 30Full Scoreboard
No games today
Full Scoreboard
Week 1Full Scoreboard
Thursday
Green Bay 8:30 PM ET
Seattle TV: NBC
Sunday
New Orleans 1:00 PM ET
Atlanta TV: FOX
Cincinnati 1:00 PM ET
Baltimore TV: CBS
Buffalo 1:00 PM ET
Chicago TV: FOX
Washington 1:00 PM ET
Houston TV: FOX
Tennessee 1:00 PM ET
Kansas City TV: CBS
New England 1:00 PM ET
Miami TV: CBS
Oakland 1:00 PM ET
NY Jets TV: CBS
Jacksonville 1:00 PM ET
Philadelphia TV: CBS
Cleveland 1:00 PM ET
Pittsburgh TV: CBS
Minnesota 1:00 PM ET
St. Louis TV: FOX
San Francisco 4:25 PM ET
Dallas TV: FOX
Carolina 4:25 PM ET
Tampa Bay TV: FOX
Indianapolis 8:30 PM ET
Denver TV: NBC
Monday
NY Giants 7:10 PM ET
Detroit TV: ESPN
San Diego 10:20 PM ET
Arizona TV: ESPN
Full Scoreboard
Saturday, August 30Full Scoreboard
No games today
Full Scoreboard