The Dallas Cowboys cut Terence Newman and David Buehler in the hours before free agency started on Tuesday, according to NFL.com. Reeling from the loss of cap space due to a penalty from the NFL for frontloading contracts during the 2010 salary year, the Cowboys needed to act quickly to make up for the loss in cap space.
The Cowboys did the best they could as soon as possible to relieve salary burdens. The writing was on the wall for Newman and Buehler. Newman wasn't nearly as effective in 2011 as in years prior. Buehler became expendable after the emergence of rookie kicker Dan Bailey.
Newman Couldn't Be Kept at His Cost
The Cowboys had no choice but to release Newman. His salary cap hit was far too much to hang on to with the new cap situation the Cowboys faced on Monday. Newman would have cost $8 million on the salary cap, and the Cowboys will save $6 million.
That alone will allow the Cowboys to sign a free agent or two.
Besides salary cap considerations, Newman wasn't effective anymore for the Cowboys in 2011. He had 45 solo tackles, four interceptions and eight pass deflections.
His coverage was sketchy. Newman was often beaten, allowing 41 catches on 69 targets for 623 yards. He disappeared late in the season, knocking down one pass in the last four games.
He fell apart sometimes in clutch situations. Newman allowed the game-winning catch by Calvin Johnson in the Cowboys' Week 4 loss to the Detroit Lions. Also, the nine-year veteran caught an interception against the New England Patriots, but didn't stand his ground in the fourth quarter.
This is one of the first steps to rebuilding the Cowboys secondary.
Buehler Became Expendable with the Rise of Bailey
Most teams don't keep two kickers. The Cowboys managed to hold Bailey and Buehler in 2011, as Bailey broke out and Buehler sat a significant amount of time. Buehler had a groin injury early in the season.
He ended up playing only four games.
Bailey became one of the most proficient kickers in the NFL. He was fifth in kicking points (135) and 10th in field-goal percentage (86.5 percent).
Buehler can't say he's capable of Bailey's numbers. In 2010, Buehler make 75 percent of 32 field-goal attempts and totaled 116 points.
That's a far cry from Bailey's numbers. With Buehler's level of play, the Cowboys couldn't keep him at $1.26 million.
Conclusion: Other Cowboys Cap Relief Action
The Cowboys made a couple of other quick moves to relieve the salary cap pressure. They restructured the contracts of Orlando Scandrick and Doug Free, saving $8.56 million.
The four moves combined save the Cowboys $15.72 million.
According to ESPNDallas, the Cowboys could save $4 million more by restructuring the contracts of Dez Bryant and DeMarcus Ware.
Jerry Jones seems to be working quickly to make sure that the Cowboys can make the free agent signings they need to address holes in the secondary and other areas. Releasing Buehler and Newman signaled a good start.