As we go deeper into the NFL offseason with free agency just around the corner, it’s going to be very interesting to see the teams trying to make their players take pay cuts, with the threat of releasing them handing over their heads. The Dallas Cowboys (with Brandon Carr) and the Miami Dolphins (with Cameron Wake) are two such teams.
The Cowboys have very little room under the salary cap (around $4 million), which means it’s going to be another offseason of trying to restructure deals with quite a few players. One of them is 29 year old cornerback Brandon Carr, who signed a $50 million deal with the Cowboys in 2012. Carr has already done some reworkings to his deal once, converting $13.585 million of salary into a signing bonus in 2013. He’s due to have a $13.817 million cap hit in 2016.
The Cowboys, who will pay him a $9.1 million base salary in 2016, will be trying to rework the deal. Cutting him does save them $6.383 million under the cap, but eats up $7.434 million in dead money. Carr hasn’t missed a single game for the Cowboys since joining them in 2012, but hasn’t had a single interception over the last two seasons, and after 24 defended passes during his first two years with the team, has been down to just 15 in 2014 and 2015, part of the massive decline their secondary has been going through.
The Cowboys might already have a plan in place in case they have to cut Carr. Signing Adam Jones, who played for them in 2008, might be on their to-do list, as both he and his agent “accidentally” met with Cowboys execs in an Indianapolis restaurant. Jones has been playing on the Cincinnati Bengals since leaving the Cowboys, and has recently promised not to lose his temper ever again.
Another team that might be cutting ties with a veteran player are the Dolphins, who have been trying to negotiate and extension with Wake for a while, but the two sides aren’t very close. The Dolphins have been hoping Wake would take a pay cut from the $8.275 million he’s due to make in 2016 (with a $9.8 million cap hit) but he has very different plans. The 34 year old was a Pro Bowl selection from 2012 to 2014 and many believe he can make more than his salary right now by hitting the open market.
Wake played in just seven games for the Dolphins in 2015 but still finished with 7 sacks, and has 70 over his seven seasons in the NFL, including 11.5 in 2014 when he played all 16 games, like his usual output. Cutting Wake would save the Dolphins $8.4 million under the cap, and with them already in need of cutting players and re-doing deals (current cap number is $169 million) the situation with Wake is probably closer to severing ties than staying together.