By Clarence E. Hill Jr. Fort Worth Star-Telegram
The Dallas Cowboys restructured the contract of quarterback Tony Romo and asked defensive end DeMarcus Ware to take a pay cut on Tuesday in their attempt to get under the 2014 salary cap of $133 million, according to sources.
The team converted most of Romo’s $13.5 million base for next year into a signing bonus, creating roughly $10 million in salary cap space.
Combine that with the $6.8 million they saved on Monday by redoing the deals of cornerback Orlando Scandrick and linebacker Sean Lee, and the Cowboys are now within range of being compliant. The Cowboys came into the week roughly $17-18 million over the salary cap.
The Cowboys need to be under the cap by March 11.
Regarding Romo’s deal, cap flexibility was built into the six-year, $108 million contract extension that Romo signed in 2013, allowing them to turn his base salary into a signing bonus.
The Cowboys will turn $12.5 million of Romo’s guaranteed $13.5 million base salary into a signing bonus. That drops his salary cap figure from $21.773 million to $11.773 million, creating the $10 million in salary space.
The offshoot of Tuesday’s move is that it will cause Romo’s 2015 cap number to rise to $27.8 million.
Ware has a base salary of $12.25 million with a salary cap hit of $16 million. Ware has renegotiated his contract three times since he signed an extension in 2009. If Ware refuses a pay cut and the Cowboys cut him, they’ll pick up $7.4 million in cap room.
Ware will have suitors if he is cut despite coming off elbow surgery last month and a career-low six sacks in an injury-plagued 2013 season.
The Cowboys released four players last week — defensive end Everett Brown, defensive tackle Corey Irvin, guard Ray Dominquez and tackle Jeff Olson — to save more than $2 million in salary but less than $1 million in salary cap space.
The Cowboys are less than a $1 million from being cap compliant. The team can clear more room with the expected releases of center Phil Costa and receiver Miles Austin.