The Cowboys released veteran starters Mark Stepnoski, George Teague and Jackie Harris on Thursday to create salary cap room. Releasing them will save the Cowboys almost $4 million against the $71.1 million salary cap. It also means Dallas doesn't have to pay out $1.1 million in roster bonuses Friday, the first day of the league year.
Stepnoski and Harris each were scheduled to receive a $400,000 bonus, while Teague was due to receive $300,000.
The Cowboys also had left Stepnoski unprotected for Houston in expansion draft two weeks ago, but the Texans decided not to pick him up. Stepnoski, a five time Pro-Bowler, was the lone player left from Jerry Jones' first Cowboys team back in 1989.
Tony Dixon, a second-round pick last season, and Lynn Scott will both get a chance at replacing Teague, unless the Cowboys decide to take a safety high in the draft.
Matt Lehr will replace Stepnoski as the starting center next season. Lehr, a fifth round draft pick out of Virginia Tech, progressed nicely during the second half of 2001.
Harris played only two seasons with the Cowboys, and his production fell off dramatically last season. He caught only 14 passes for 141 yards and 2 touchdowns this past season.
As it stands now, the Cowboys will have about $10 million to spend on free agents this year.
Free Agent WR Jake Reed, and DB Dale Carter of the Minnesota Vikings officially visited Valley Ranch on Friday. Both players, just like Jesse Armstead, are residents of the Dallas area.
Also, the Cowboys are expected to bring former Washington Redskins tight-end Stephen Alexander in for a visit next week. The Cowboys have only one tight-end on their 80-man roster, after cutting Jackie Harris, and losing Johnny Huggins to the Houston Texans in the expansion draft.
Cowboys Cut Several Key Veterans
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