Cowboys rework deals, near cap

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IRVING, Texas -- The Dallas Cowboys will be less than $1 million over the salary cap after restructuring quarterback Tony Romo's contract to create $10 million in cap space.

According to a source, the team will convert $12.5 million of Romo's $13.5 million base salary into a signing bonus, dropping his cap figure from $21.773 million to $11.773 million.

Romo signed a six-year extension last year worth $108 million that included $55 million in guaranteed money. The Cowboys designed the contract to be restructured in the second year of the deal to create cap room.

He is rehabbing from December back surgery, but the Cowboys anticipate Romo will be able to take part in the full offseason program that begins April 21.

In addition, the Cowboys will finalize the restructured contracts of linebacker Sean Lee and Orlando Scandrick on Tuesday, moves that created $6.8 million in cap space, according to sources. The Cowboys signed Scandrick to a two-year extension late last season that guaranteed him $9 million. Lee signed a six-year extension worth as much as $51 million last summer.

The three restructured deals create $16.8 million in space, leaving the team less than $1 million from being under their $134.55 million cap. The Cowboys carried over $1.55 million in cap space from 2013.

The Cowboys do not plan to restructure the contracts of any more players unless they need to find space to add players in free agency. At the NFL scouting combine, executive vice president Stephen Jones said the Cowboys will be "efficient" spenders in free agency.

The team has yet to decide the futures of DeMarcus Ware and Miles Austin.

Ware is set to count $16.003 million against the cap, and the Cowboys would save $7.4 million by releasing him. It is possible they work out a new deal with Ware, which would also save money against the cap.

Austin is set to count $8.249 million against the cap, and the Cowboys can save $5.5 million by designating him a post-June 1 cut when the new league year starts next week.

The Cowboys attempted to get center Phil Costa to take a pay cut, but he refused. Despite reports, they have not yet decided to release Costa, but that move would save $1.5 million.

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