Sports

Cowboys will take $10 million salary cap hit

The contract extension Miles Austin received in 2010 just became more expensive for the Dallas Cowboys.

The six-year, $54 million deal the veteran receiver signed in September 2010 is at the heart of $10 million the Cowboys will lose in salary cap space over the next two seasons. Specifically, it is the $17.078 million the Cowboys paid Austin in base salary in 2010 that has Dallas facing a deduction now.

The Management Council Executive Committee determined the Cowboys and the Washington Redskins "created an unacceptable risk to future competitive balance" during the uncapped 2010 season. The Redskins face a $36 million salary cap hit.

"The Dallas Cowboys were in compliance with all league salary cap rules during the uncapped year. We look forward to the start of the free agency period where our commitment to improving our team remains unchanged," said Cowboys spokesman Rich Dalrymple.

The deductions, not deemed "violations" or "fines" by the league, can be split between the 2012 and 2013 salary caps however the teams choose.

It's certainly a setback to the Cowboys heading into the start of free agency today, but a team source said it will not prevent them from doing what they need to do and they still plan to be active.

The Cowboys have yet to determine how to divide the deduction.

The Cowboys' decision to franchise linebacker Anthony Spencer, guaranteeing him $8.8 million in 2012, took away most of their salary cap room.

The Cowboys are expected to rework the contracts of Dez Bryant, Doug Free, Orlando Scandrick and DeMarcus Ware to create more than $12.5 million in cap space.

They could save $6 million in cap space by designating cornerback Terence Newman as a post-June 1 cap casualty.

The 2012 salary cap will be $120.6 million. Most teams also have credits carried over from 2011, including $17.6 million for the Cowboys.

While the Cowboys and Redskins will lose salary cap space, the New Orleans Saints and the Raiders won't gain any.

The other teams in the league will receive an extra $1.6 million each in cap money from the deductions assessed the Cowboys and the Redskins.

Charean Williams

817-390-7760

Twitter: @NFLCharean

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