La’el Collins releases cash now available but it means nothing to Cowboys plans


It’s pretty crazy to see some of the roster-related takes on Twitter and the internet on Thursday, at least as far as the Dallas Cowboys are concerned. Many websites have pointed to the fact that the Cowboys are the proud owners of an additional $10 million cap space after the schedule turned the page to June 2. La’el Collins was released in early spring and has since signed with the Cincinnati Bengals, but the Cowboys named their former starter as a June 1 exit.

This means that while Collins was free to search for a new landing spot, the Cowboys were not free to spend the cap savings. The exit allowed Dallas to avoid absorbing accelerated caps for years ahead of the end of Collins’ deal. Due to league accounting rules, the extra cap space was not available for Dallas until Thursday. So now that it’s free, some outlets are reporting that the Cowboys can now make additional free agent moves. The only problem? Nothing was stopping Dallas before Thursday and the extra ceiling room won’t persuade them at all.

Here’s why.

The Cowboys entered the month with over $13 million in cap space, and they had known since March that the extra $10 million was coming. Their draft picks are all signed except for fourth-round tight end Jake Ferguson. After the draft, the compensatory selection window closed, meaning any player they sign will not impact the three additional selections they expect to get in 2023.

In other words, there’s no reason the Cowboys haven’t signed anyone yet. They weren’t expecting more space.

That’s not to say Dallas won’t sign any additional players, just to make it clear that finally getting the cap space attached to Collins’ exit isn’t the big deal some make it out to be.

It’s pretty clear that every step Dallas has taken to create cap space, from Collins to Amari Cooper, is reserved for the 2023 season.

The only thing that matters to the Cowboys around June 2 is if another NFL club waited and didn’t designate a player as a June 1 release. Only the Bears and Raiders released the maximum of two Designated Players, meaning they theoretically could have had more players than they wanted to release, but had to wait until the actual date to split the cap reached.

When a player is released, any unamortized signing bonus (spread over up to five seasons, the success of seasons not yet played) accelerates to the current year’s cap. After June 1, this acceleration falls on the cap of the following year.

Thus, a player released now will return all non-guaranteed base salary to the team cap, and the future signing bonus will hit all 2023 ledger pitches.

But again, only two teams have used their two slots this season. The other 30 teams probably didn’t retain any of these players. Maybe a few teams wanted to see how the draft was going in terms of replacing veterans, but whoever the Cowboys are targeting has probably been in the free agent market for a while and Dallas has had the cap space to make them. climb on board.

They just didn’t.

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