While most NFL teams have been hesitant to adopt a data-heavy approach to on-field play, many have embraced using analytics to effectively manage the salary cap. That makes sense, since the salary cap, although intricate, is fixed and not a terribly complex system in the same way as 22 players colliding into one another.
Nonetheless, some organizations—the Cowboys included—continually find themselves in salary cap trouble.
It's not that Dallas is horrible at managing the cap per se, but rather that they've typically paid players for what they've done—as opposed to what they'll do in the future. That's led to Marion Barber-esque contracts that absolutely deplete the team of cap space.
According to the Charean Williams of the Star Telegram, the Cowboys are going to begin 2014 at $22 million over the cap. Tom Pelissero of USA Today has reported the total cap number will come in somewhere around $126.3 million this year, which would be just a three percent increase from 2013.