The Dallas Cowboys are no longer strapped by the salary cap.
When they released long-time quarterback Tony Romo in April they did it with a post-June 1 designation, allowing them to split up the remaining dead money on contract over the next two years.
What that means is that the Cowboys started Friday suddenly $14 million richer in salary cap space, taking them from the bottom of the league to about the middle of the pack with roughly $17 million cap room headed into the 2017 NFL season.
How did it happen?
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Romo was set to count $24.7 million against the cap in 2017, including his $14 million base salary.
His release triggered a $19.6 million charge against the salary cap for dead money of already paid signing bonus.
The reason the Cowboys released with him with a post-June 1 designation was so they could split the dead money over the next two years with $10.7 million counting this year and $8.9 million counting next year.
So essentially the $24.7 million that was Cowboys were being charged against the cap for Romo on Thursday dropped to $10.7, freeing up $14 million cap space.
The Cowboys went from roughly $3 million in available space to $17 million.
It represents the largest jump of any team in the league via the post-June 1 cuts.
Despite the new money, don’t expect a spending spree by the Cowboys.
All but one of the draft picks have already been signed and there is no big-time free agent they are looking to add.
The Cowboys will likely use some of the money to sign Pro Bowl guard Zack Martin to a long-term contract, something executive vice president Stephen Jones has said was one of the biggest goals of the offseason.
That could come before or during training camp.
The Cowboys will also use some money to sign finally third-round pick Jourdan Lewis as well as their prospective practice squad.
It allows them to flexible to possibly add free agents during training camp, if needed.
If there is money left over, it can be carried over to next season, allowing the Cowboys to major players in free agency from the outset.