The Dallas Cowboys cap situation for the 2023 season isn’t the best, but could be far worse.
Going into next year, the Cowboys have $6.3 million of open cap space to acquire new players. That ranks 19th in the NFL.
Here are the five players that will have the largest cap hits for the Cowboys in 2023:
- Dak Prescott: $49.1 million
- DeMarcus Lawrence: $26 million
- Zack Martin: $19.8 million
- Tyron Smith: $17.6 million
- Ezekiel Elliott: $16.7 million
Of course, ranking 19th in cap space doesn’t sound very good. But Dallas is better off than some other teams that made the postseason.
Six teams that qualified for the 2022 playoffs are projected to enter next season with negative cap space. The Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, Los Angeles Chargers and Jacksonville Jaguars will all be between -$6 million and -$19 million.
But the Tampa Bay Buccaneers take the cake with -$43 million in cap room going into 2023. Now the Cowboys $6.3 million of space doesn’t seem too shabby, does it?
Here are some potential money-saving moves to expect from Dallas this offseason:
The elephant in the room
There’s been an abundance of speculation regarding the future of the Cowboys RBs. Elliott has been solid this season in short yardage situations. Zeke’s 12 rushing touchdowns are the most he’s scored since 2019. But his 876 rushing yards are a career low.
Elliott hasn’t lived up to the six-year, $90 million megadeal he signed in 2019. The Cowboys will soon have the chance to cut Zeke and eat his dead cap space, but not this offseason. If the Cowboys release Elliott, it’ll cost $11.8 million against the cap.
Tony Pollard has gotten more action in the Cowboys offense than ever before, and he’s flourished. Pollard set career-highs in total touchdowns, rushing yards and receiving yards in 2022.
Unfortunately, this is the last year on Pollard’s rookie contract. Dallas’ front office will need a miracle to manipulate the cap in a way that makes Pollard affordable.
In all likelihood, Pollard will leave in free agency for a starting role with another team. Zeke will stay in Big D, and the Cowboys will add a new RB through the NFL Draft or free agency.
Bye bye Kelvin Joseph
This season has not been friendly to Kelvin Joseph. After a few injuries at CB gave Joseph more playing time, he didn’t perform well. It was so bad the Cowboys had to sign some players midseason to try to compete for the LCB spot.
In Week 18, Joseph didn’t get a single snap on defense. Instead, he spent all his time on special teams.
But even on ST, Joseph has struggled with penalties. His eight penalties on defense and special teams have cost Dallas 94 yards; the eighth-most penalty yardage in football.
Cutting Joseph will only cost $1.5 million in dead cap
Josh Ball likely gone
Josh Ball competed for the swing tackle role in the preseason, but struggled mightily. When rookie LT Matt Waletzko suffered a long-term shoulder injury before Week 1, Dallas was put in a bind.
Rather than give 24-year-old Ball a shot at regular season action, the Cowboys opted to sign 40-year-old Jason Peters. Ball has played a limited role for the Cowboys this year.
With his dead cap hit being just $250,000, all signs are pointing to Ball being out of Big D in 2023.