After another disappointing ending to a season, the Dallas Cowboys find themselves in a difficult situation, being way above the salary cap, with quite a few needs at offensive line and defensive line, while players like Miles Austin are on their way out of the team unless they’e re-signed.
And the question is – should they be re-signed? Depends on the player. Anthony Spencer, for example, probably the highest rated heading-to-free-agency player on the Dallas Cowboys is likely to be playing somewhere else next season. The Cowboys would like to keep him, but being too expensive and the fear of his 11 sacks last season being a part of the contract-year syndrome do make them cautious about giving him the kind of contract he wants, which is around $8-10 million a season.
Miles Austin is due $6.7 million in 2013, and should the Cowboys cut him, they might save up to $5 million in much needed cap space. Is Austin overpaid? Probably, a bit. He caught 66 passes for 943 yards in 2012 with 6 touchdowns. It seems that his 2009 season, with 1320 yards and 11 touchdowns was pretty much a one time thing, and his two Pro-Bowl appearances are a thing of the past. With four years and $30.5 million left on Austin’s contract (turning 29 in June), his presence is definitely an issue.
One of the problems for the Cowboys is their receiving crew. Jason Witten keeps on being the default option for the Cowboys, but even he can’t carry on forever. There’s no doubt Dez Bryant is the number one option for Tony Romo, but looking at their depth chart, there’s not that much to be proud of behind Austin, and the chances of the Cowboys spending a high draft pick on a wide receiver are slim to none, while their maneuverability in the free agent market is extremely low. Kevin Ogletree, who had what seemed to be having a breakout game in the opener to 2012 against the Giants, but was a complete non-factor afterwards.
If Austin is cut, it seems the Cowboys and Tony Romo will struggle mightily in the passing game, while having a fragile back like DeMarco Murray with no reliable option behind him hurts as well. For now, it seems like taking the cap hit on Austin is worth it, until it becomes a more likely option to cut him loose in 2014.