Regardless of whether the Dallas Cowboys make the playoffs in 2013, they'll have their hands full this offseason as they prepare to pull themselves out of a problematic salary-cap situation.
According to ESPN NFL insider Adam Schefter, the Cowboys are projected to be roughly $31 million over the salary cap in 2014, which would be the most of any team in the league. An anonymous NFL executive describes the impending situation as "a train wreck," per Schefter.
To put Dallas' salary cap status into proper perspective, Schefter adds that the Cowboys' projected mark of $31 million over the cap would be $13 million more than the next closest team.
Although it remains to be seen what direction the Cowboys plan to go in following the 2013 season, these cap issues are sure to affect Dallas next spring when the team looks to add free-agent talent to the mix, especially on defense, where the Cowboys have struggled immensely thus far.
The Cowboys have invested long-term in key performers like Tony Romo and Miles Austin, but mammoth signings like those have only contributed to the salary-cap crisis.
The team's recent roster moves certainly haven't helped the cause. Dallas released veteran defensive tackle Jay Ratliff earlier this week, which means the $7 million the Pro Bowler is owed in 2014 will count against next year's cap.
Dallas can improve its salary-cap outlook by making cuts and adjusting contracts, but those moves won't come without consequences, as they are sure to impact the product the Cowboys send out onto the field in 2014.
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