Travis Frederick is officially no longer on the Dallas Cowboys roster. That shouldn't be breaking news to you, considering due to his continued battle with Guillain-Barre Syndrome. Although the decision was made pre-June 1, the team opted to wait until this past week to formalize his leaving, which allows them to gain $7 million in cap savings after losing one of the best centers in franchise history.
They've since drafted fellow Wisconsin legend Tyler Biadasz as his , and while they work out changes at the position, some believe the cap savings from Frederick's retirement will help what happens behind center -- namely in the ongoing contract talks with Dak Prescott. That's not the case, however, as sources confirm to CBS Sports the added space has no impact whatsoever on negotiations with the two-time Pro Bowl quarterback, and for a couple of reasons.
The team exercised the exclusive franchise tag on Prescott in March that will pay him nearly $31.5 million in 2020 if a deal isn't struck by the NFL deadline of July 15, and although he has yet to sign it, it's already factored into their current cap situation as a worst-case scenario. Inclusive of the tag, the Cowboys have approximately $11.25 million in space -- per Over The Cap -- which includes the spread of Frederick's dead money.
Because the former All-Pro center was moved to the retirement list by the Cowboys post-June 1, the team will only be subjected to a dead money hit of $4.975 million this year and $6.06 million in 2021. Had they opted to do so pre-June 1, they would've forced to absorb the complete $11.04 million in 2020.
When it comes to Prescott, recall the potential salary under the tag being viewed as "worst-case," and that's because if a deal is agreed to before the deadline as expected, it's highly likely his hit against the cap for 2020 will be reduced -- not increased. This is why the additional space created by Frederick retiring has no impact,, there's little chance the Cowboys would see a contract structure that hits them with the full brunt of a $35 million or more cap hit this coming season.
An example of this would be DeMarcus Lawrence, who was franchise tagged in 2019 before signing a five-year, $105 million deal that made him the highest-paid player in franchise history. This would be a better comparison because, like Prescott, Lawrence's deal was 100 percent new money, whereas Elliott still had two years remaining on his contract when he signed. While Lawrence's average salary amounts to $21 million per year, his 2019 cap hit was just $11.1 million, summed by his $1.5 million base salary, a $4.6 million roster bonus and $5 million of his $25 million signing bonus. Prescott's cap hit on a new deal will certainly be greater than $11.1 million in 2020, but it won't be the literal equivalent of his AAS.
This is because his signing bonus will also be prorated and the average annual salary is just that -- the average of his overall maximum potential payout divided by the length of the contract.
In reality, it may not be until Year 2 and Year 3 before the Cowboys feel any pressing impact from Prescott signing a long-term deal in 2020 and, barring any COVID-19 impact to the salary cap, they are expected to see an explosion in cap space over the next two seasons due to the league's negotiations for new television contracts and potential gambling revenues. In other words, by the time they'd feel any heat from Prescott's contract, they'd have plenty of ice on hand to soothe the burn.
So what will the Cowboys do with the cap savings from Frederick's retirement? In all likelihood, nothing you'll find provocative.
There is still interest in trading for All-Pro safety Jamal Adams, but the New York Jets have made the proposition so unrealistic that neither team has spoken since talks fell apart in October 2019. There was interest in potentially adding veteran pass rusher Everson Griffen ahead of the draft, in the mix -- having been reinstated and to the field in Dallas -- Griffen's price would have to be exceedingly team-friendly in order for the Cowboys to add him to the roster.
At the end of the day, the team is comfortable using a chunk of Frederick's savings simply as a means of signing their rookie class, which amounts to just over $3 million, and allowing the rest to sit nicely in a nest egg to use in case of emergency during the season.
Simply put, Frederick retiring will impact this former quarterback on the field, but not off it.