Parcells weighs in on Cowboys' cap issues

March 13, 2013

Managing the National Football League’s salary cap is no easy task. Ask six-time NFL Executive of the Year Bill Polian. During a special edition free agency show Monday on ESPN, Polian and former Dallas Cowboys coach Bill Parcells discussed several aspects of free agency and navigating the salary cap.

Parcells mentioned the Cowboys when talking about teams that are top heavy with big contracts.

For the upcoming season, the Cowboys’ 12 highest-paid players represent 67 percent of the money being paid to the 51 players under their salary cap.

Not quite as bad as what Polian had a few years ago when he was vice chairman of the Indianapolis Colts.

Polian said one year he had 12 players make up about 78 percent of the Colts’ salary.

“It only works if the linchpin, the quarterback plays at a high level through all of his career,” Polian said. “If you have a drop-off, as we did when Peyton Manning got hurt, then you can’t handle it, that theory doesn’t work.”

Parcells added that he doesn’t think that type of cap management works long term.

“You need that linchpin, that lead singer but you need some guys in the choir, too,” Parcells said. “You need guys playing the instruments as well. And if you got 43 of them making 20 percent of the money, I think there’s a problem down the road.”

Here are the cap figures for the 12 highest paid Cowboys entering the 2013 season, according to

Tony Romo: $16,818,833

Anthony Spencer: $10,627,200

Doug Free: $10,020,000

DeMarcus Ware: $8,093,750

Brandon Carr: $5,432,000

Jason Witten: $4,352,000

Jay Ratliff: $4,072,000

Morris Claiborne: $3,696,478

Miles Austin: $3,588,400

Tyron Smith: $3,408,027

Dez Bryant: $2,926,000

Orlando Scandrick: $2,816,250

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