Cowboys in Great Shape Regardless

No matter what happens today with the CBA, the Cowboys can be aggressive in free agency.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said he wants to win now. That is why he gave head coach Bill Parcells, who had been considering a retirement, a new two-year contract and a raise this offseason.

"The alternative to that was not even close," Jones said recently. "He gives us the chance to win and win big in the immediate future. I have placed a big emphasis on winning big in the immediate future. I am about winning. Bill Parcells is about winning."

Despite the league-wide concerns and uncertainty over the labor negotiations, Jones believes can make the moves to be a big winner in 2006.

Unlike the team around the league, the Cowboys are in pretty good shape -- with or without a new labor deal.

The team could have close to $15 million under the current 2006 salary cap of $94.5 million. If a new labor deal is reached that number could increase by at least $10 million.

The Cowboys got to this point making only one significant cut -- defensive tackle La'Roi Glover -- which is significant in name only.

Glover has been to the last six Pro Bowls but it was no secret last season that his days in Dallas were over. Relegated from starter to backup because of the move to the 3-4 and the addition of nose tackle Jason Ferguson, Glover recorded 28 tackles and three sacks -- his lowest totals since his rookie year.

With a $7.2 million cap figure, including a $1.5 million roster bonus, the money and production didn't add up for the Cowboys.

The Cowboys saved $6 million by releasing Glover -- $4.5 million in base salary and the $1.5 million roster bonus. He will still count $1.2 million against the Cowboys cap next season.

The Cowboys saved additional money by moving linebacker Dat Nguyen to the reserve/retired list. They also released safety Derek Pagel, kicker Brett Visintainer and defensive tackle Willie Blade from the injured list last week.

Nguyen's retirement had been expected since he struggled last season because of neck and knee injuries. The moved allowed the Cowboys to save $1.8 million off the salary cap.

Cutting Pagel, Visintainer and Blade saved the Cowboys $460,000, $310,000 and $455,000 in cap money.

Unlike teams around the league, these moves would have been made regardless of the collective bargaining agreement and will not be rescinded if a new labor deal is reached.

Jones plans to use the money to fill needs for 2006. The Cowboys are searching for help at offensive tackle, safety, linebacker, kicker and receiver. Glover's departure means they must also address depth at nose tackle.

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