Felix Jones unlikely to earn big Cowboys contract

  • By Brian McIntyre
  • Around the League writer
  • Published: July 16, 2012 at 10:56 a.m.
  • Updated: July 16, 2012 at 11:14 a.m.

"Around the League" is taking a look at each team's salary-cap situation heading into training camp. Next up: The Dallas Cowboys.
Adjusted Cap Number: $133.786 million
Crunching the Numbers

Around the League is taking a look at each team's salary cap situation as we approach the start of training camp:

AFC East
• Bills | Dolphins | Jets | Patriots
AFC North
• Bengals | Browns | Ravens | Steelers
AFC South
• Colts | Jaguars | Texans | Titans
AFC West
• Broncos | Chargers | Chiefs | Raiders
NFC East
• Cowboys | Eagles | Giants | Redskins
NFC North
• Bears | Lions | Packers | Vikings
NFC South
• Buccaneers | Falcons | Panthers | Saints
NFC West
• 49ers | Cardinals | Rams | Seahawks

Cap Room Remaining: $7.188 million (will have around $4.5 million in space after the signing of first-round pick Morris Claiborne)

Best Bargain: Though his front-loaded contract extension from 2010 is believed to be the reason the Cowboys were docked $10 million in cap penalties over the next two seasons, it's pretty clear that Miles Austin is the best bargain on the Cowboys' roster. With 14 receptions for 233 yards and four touchdowns in the first eight quarters of the season, Austin was well on his way towards a monster year before hamstring injuries limited him to ten games on the season. Overall, Austin produced 43 receptions for 579 yards and seven touchdowns.
Healthy heading into 2012, Austin is set to earn just $1.15 million in base salary with a $2.721 million cap figure this season.
Potential Camp Casualty: Defensive end Kenyon Coleman started 15 games last season and is a favorite of Rob Ryan, but the team's cap situation, a potentially reduced role and a $1.9 million base salary in the final year of a two-year contract could threaten his roster spot. Dallas kept five defensive ends in 2011 and could do so again in 2012. Starter Jason Hatcher and 2012 third-round pick Tyrone Crawford as safe, while Coleman will compete with Sean Lissemore and Marcus Spears for the other starting job. If Coleman is fifth on the depth chart, his salary could be deemed too pricey for the limited snaps he'll be expected to see.
Contract Issue Looming In 2013: The 2012 season will determine the long-term futures of several former first-round picks in Dallas. Franchised outside linebacker Anthony Spencer is not going to receive a new deal before Monday's 4 p.m. ET deadline, so he'll play out the season under the $8.856 million tag. To franchise him again next season would cost $10.627 million (120 percent his current tag), which is a large amount to pay an outside linebacker with limited pass-rushing totals.

Dallas' pair of first-round picks from the 2008 NFL Draft will also be looking for new deals next offseason. Running back Felix Jones has been surpassed on the depth chart by DeMarco Murray and the Cowboys are unlikely to break the bank on a new contract for him. Same reasoning applies to Mike Jenkins, a 2009 Pro Bowler who is now fourth on depth chart behind Brandon Carr, Morris Claiborne and Orlando Scandrick. That the Cowboys have not traded him to one of the interested parties (Detroit, Indianapolis) remains a mystery.