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CBA Ratified; All Players Can Practice

The Cowboys pushed their Thursday practice from 2:30 pm to 6:30 pm in hopes that the CBA would be ratified and signed allowing the league year to officially begin. Well that happened earlier this afternoon and when the Cowboys practice at 6:30 pm they will get their first look at the free agents that they signed last week.

The Cowboys signed or resigned: Marcus Spears, Kenyon Coleman, Jason Hatcher, Jesse Holley, Gerald Sensabuagh, Alan Ball, Doug Free, Kyle Kosier, Bryan McCann and Abe Elam. The only player that won’t be available to practice is the newly signed Abe Elam, who has not arrived in San Antonio but is expected to be practicing tomorrow.

Now that the league year has officially begun the Cowboys also have until Friday at 3 pm CST to be under the $120.4 million salary cap. It is expected that the Cowboys will restructure the contracts of DeMarcus Ware, Tony Romo and Miles Austin to get the team under the cap. Ware and Austin have automatic triggers in their contract that allow the Cowboys to lower their base salary and move the remainder into the signing bonus which does not hit the cap.

Ware was due to make a $6.7 million base salary in 2011, but that will now be $810,000 and the remainder ($5.89 million) will go to him immediately as a signing bonus. Ware’s cap hit will move from $11.348 million to $5.988 million, giving the Cowboys an extra $5.36 million in cap space.

As for Austin, his base will go from $8.54 million to $685,000 with $7.855 changed to a signing bonus. His cap hit will go from $8.54 million to $2.256 million, creating $6.284 million of space under the salary cap.

No word yet on whether the Cowboys will restructure Romo’s deal for sure, but all signs point to Romo making some changes as well. He will have to agree to the new deal because he does not have an automatic trigger in his contract.

While this helps the Cowboys immediately it increases the cap hit that the players will cause in the future. The Cowboys are already facing “salary cap prison” next year with the team already having approximately $20 million in dead money next year.

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