DALLAS — Multiple reports indicate the Dallas Cowboys will release receiver Allen Hurns, who played just one season into his two-year contract.
While the 6-3 wideout from Miami sustained a gruesome broken leg in the club's wild-card win over the Seattle Seahawks on Jan. 5, it may not have as much to do with his lack of availability as it could other financial factors.
According to Over the Cap, the Cowboys have the 14th-highest salary cap space in the NFL at $14.9 million. However, they need to pinch their pennies given the fact they have four significant players on expiring deals this season: quarterback Dak Prescott, linebacker Jaylon Smith, cornerback Byron Jones, and receiver Amari Cooper.
Heck, throw in running back Ezekiel Elliott, even though his fifth-year option has been picked up. The reality is the two-time NFL rushing champion will want a seat at the table when the Cowboys are doling out extensions.
Where could the Cowboys find a little extra money? Try Hurns' contract. The former Jacksonville Jaguar costs $6.25 million against the Cowboys' cap. Cutting Hurns has the price of a $1.25 million dead money cost, but it saves Dallas $5 million in 2019.
Are there other contracts where more money could be saved? Indeed: defensive lineman Tyrone Crawford has a cap savings of $5.9 million. Right tackle La'el Collins would save Dallas $8.5 million. However, they have more availability projected for 2019 than does Hurns, who, unfortunately for the 27-year-old, falls in the center of a Venn diagram of costing too much money and not having a lot of playing time.
While media types write articles all offseason about how the Cowboys are nearing a deal or aren't going to extend a player, training camp is a period where the front office really gets down to negotiating. The contracts of center Travis Frederick, Tyron Smith, Sean Lee, Tyrone Crawford, and even Jason Witten occurred during a period of time between training camp and preseason. Releasing Hurns now gives the Cowboys nearly $20 million to work with on an extension.
As to who will be extended remains to seen. A theme of down linemen, linebackers, and tight ends seems to be a trend with preseason extensions. When the Cowboys extended quarterback Tony Romo, the 2013 extension was signed in April prior to the commencement of the offseason program and the 2007 extension was signed over Dallas' bye week.
Receivers Terrance Williams and Dez Bryant signed their extensions respectively as soon as free agency opened in March of 2017 and hours before the franchise tag deadline in July of 2015. The last running back to get an extension from the Cowboys, Marion Barber, signed an extension in May of 2008.
Whatever the case, the release of Hurns appears to be a financial one and not related to the anything else. In the business of football, sometimes high character players, individuals exhibiting confidence against adversity, have to be left aside as the quest for victory endures.
Do you think the Cowboys have enough receiving threats to warrant releasing Allen Hurns before the season? Share your thoughts on the move with Mark on Twitter @therealmarklane.