Cowboys ‘still up against it’ on salary cap

Posted Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

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The Dallas Cowboys will operate under a tight salary cap situation, but it won’t be much worse than last year and they will find a way to operate, said executive vice president Stephen Jones.

“It’ll limit you,” he said Wednesday at the Senior Bowl. “At the same time, I think we can manage to get through it, get done what we need to get done and get better. … I think we’ll always manage through it, but we’re still in a tight situation after coming off the penalties [losing cap space in 2012 and ’13] and things like that.

“We’re still up against it.”

Asked if it will be as tight as last spring, Jones said, “Very similar.”

Monday at the Senior Bowl, owner Jerry Jones said the Cowboys will always have tight salary caps because of their aggressive spending.

Stephen Jones said he is not any less aggressive than his father in that philosophy.

“Totally support it,” he said. “Obviously, we’re trying to win. You get these good quarterbacks, you want to give them every opportunity to get the right guys around them, put the right guys around them in all three phases to win a championship. Obviously, that’s what we want to get done.”

The Cowboys signed quarterback Tony Romo to an extension last spring that could guarantee him $55 million and could reach a value of $108 million. His cap number for next season is $21.773 million.

“Any time you’re paying a quarterback that type of money — which you hope you are, because it means you’ve got a good one — it immediately means things will be tight,” Jones said.

Bailey deal

Stephen Jones said the Cowboys are working on a long-term contract for restricted free agent Dan Bailey, the most accurate kicker in team history.

“We’re actually in pretty serious talks with him, so we’re optimistic about that,” Jones said.

Bailey has made 89 of 98 kicks (90.8 percent) for the Cowboys in three seasons. He leads the franchise in game-winning kicks with eight.

Former kicking coach Chris Boniol, who has left the Cowboys, said Bailey and punter Chris Jones are in good hands with Rich Bisaccia and new assistant special teams coach Carlos Polk.

“Dan and Chris, true professionals in every sense,” Boniol said at the Senior Bowl. “I mean, their performance, their work ethic, their integrity on and off the field. I am extremely proud of those guys and proud to have been a big part of their development. I have full confidence that they’re going to continue and be successful.”

Spencer return

Stephen Jones said the Cowboys are open to signing defensive end Anthony Spencer, but first, he and the team have to be convinced he’s healthy.

“We got our fingers crossed, and he does, too, that his injury comes along in the proper way,” Jones said.

The Cowboys put the franchise tag on Spencer in each of the past two years. But last year, knee surgery in the first week of training camp knocked him out until the second game of the year. And after playing in that game, Spencer had a second knee surgery that ended his season.

“Anthony’s been an unbelievable player for us, and very unfortunate what happened to him last year,” Jones said. “But very productive. Obviously a guy we think a lot of; we franchised him last year. He’s the type of player you want on your team.”

Pope hired

The Cowboys hired Mike Pope as tight ends coach on Wednesday.

Pope comes to Dallas after spending the previous 14 years in the same capacity with the New York Giants.

Lee support

Sean Lee’s show of support in the trial of Josh Brent is an example of his leadership, Stephen Jones said.

“Certainly doesn’t surprise me. That’s Sean — the leader of our football team,” he said.

A jury found Brent guilty of intoxication manslaughter Wednesday after two days of deliberations.

Brent played defensive tackle three seasons for the Cowboys until retiring last July, having missed the last four games of 2012 following his arrest after the one-car accident in which a teammate, linebacker Jerry Brown, died.

Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @calexmendez

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