The Dallas Cowboys took the final steps to get under the 2014 salary cap Friday with the release of center/guard Phil Costa and the restructuring of guard Mackenzy Bernadeau's contract.
The Cowboys saved $1.5 million by cutting Costa. Bernadeau was due to make $2.75 million in base salary next season. The Cowboys lowered his base salary for 2014, but put incentives in his contract to recoup some of the money, according to a source.
Considering the Cowboys were less than $600,000 over the salary cap of roughly $134.25 million heading into the day, the moves were more than enough to meet the targeted number.
The Cowboys needed to be in compliance by the start of free agency on Tuesday.
The moves concluded a whirlwind week in which the cap-strapped Cowboys cleared roughly $20 million in cap room, led by the restructure of contracts for quarterback Tony Romo, linebacker Sean Lee and cornerback Orlando Scandrick to clear nearly $17 million alone.
The Cowboys can gain more space with the expected release of receiver Miles Austin and save $5.5 million. And the Cowboys still have a decision to make on defensive end DeMarcus Ware.
The Cowboys informed Ware early this week that they want him to return next year but have no intentions of paying him his $12.75 million salary. Ware has been asked to take a pay cut or face being cut from the roster.
The Cowboys would save another $7.4 million by releasing Ware.
Ware has said he would listen to the Cowboys thoughts on a pay cut, but has no intention of taking a major shave in salary. According to source, Ware expects to be coveted as a free agent if released.
Clarence E. Hill Jr., 817-390-7760