A New Normal: Romo Goodbye Video, Trade Rumors, Way Cowboys Can Have $22M In Cap Room

A New Normal: Romo Goodbye Video, Trade Rumors, Way Cowboys Can Have $22M In Cap Room

According to reports from our own Mike Fisher and others on Wednesday, the Dallas Cowboys plan was to release Tony Romo, with a post June 1st designation, when the 2017 league year begins at 3 p.m. today. CHQ is told Jerry Jones personally said that to Romo sometime around noon on Wednesday.

One way or another, Romo's still leaving, as he and Bob Dylan tell us here ...


That time has come, marking the end of an era for the Cowboys organization, the players, as well as legions of fans. (Please read Jordan Ross' wonderful tribute to Romo here.) Now, Jerry and the Cowboys are playing Poker by leaking to ESPN their wishes to attempt to trade the QB, with the Texans and Broncos both whispering that while they want him, they don't want to give up an asset for him.

Let's assume for the moment that Jerry is true to his "Do-Right'' word and makes Romo and June 1st designee. ...

Since he suffered his latest back injury on the field in a preseason game in Seattle, the cap ramifications of all the possible moves have been stated, and re-stated, we discussed restructures, and reductions and massaging the contract, potential trade destinations, and more. (See it all here.) But the day is coming where the situation will be resolved, the elephant will exit the room, and everyone involved, whether intimately or from a distance, will be able to move on about their normal NFL business, although it will be a "new normal.''

One way is this way:

A “Post June 1st” designation allows the team to release a player at any point in the league year, while treating the release as if it happened sometime after June 1st in terms of the cap. The significance here comes back to the handling of a players remaining prorated signing bonus once he is released. On a standard release done between the beginning of the league year and June 1st, all of the remaining prorated money, in Romo’s case, $19.6 Million dollars, accelerates into the current year as “dead money”. Once June 1st comes and goes, that dead money is split, the current years portion, in Romo’s case $10.7 Million, stays on the current year, and the remaining years portion, $8.9 Million for Romo, accelerate into the following year.  

Having this designation allows a player to be on the market early in the free agency period, when teams are interested in spending significant amounts of cash and cap space on available players, while still allowing the team the benefit of the cap flexibility associated with splitting the players dead money over two years. The catch for the team is that the cap benefits in the current year don’t take effect until June 2nd. Meaning they can’t use their new found cap space to sign those shiny free agents that many fans are so hungry for at this time of year.

But it does provide them options for paying their rookies, signing new contracts with veterans they want to extend prior to their contracts expiring, and accounting for things like injury settlements, in-season injury replacements, and any other in-season transactions that may pop up. Additionally, with the CBA allowing teams to roll cap space from one year to the next, any un-spent portion of the cap can be rolled into the next year to counter the dead money hit from the released player. Meaning that the biggest thing a Post June 1st release does for a team, is buy them flexibility.

So what’s the nitty gritty on the release for Romo? IF he's a June 1st designee:

His 2017 cap number is reduced from $24.7 Million to $10.7 Million, while his 2018 cap number is reduced from  $25.2 Million to $8.9 Million, and his 2019 cost drops from $23.7 Million to nothing. 

For an updated look at where Dallas would stand against the cap in that circumstance, check the table.


No to Romo. Yes to $22 Million of cap room. A "new normal,'' indeed. Or, of course, Dallas does something else with Tony, as there is no cap reason to hurry. (Trade or standard release equals the same $5.1 mil of cap room for 2017.) There are football reasons and Do-Right reasons and in any event, "Times They Are A'Changin'.


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