According to ESPN’s Todd Archer, the Cowboys on Thursday placed their ex-longtime starting center on the reserve/retired list, creating $7 million in salary-cap space. The formal move was deliberately made after June 1, as it allowed the team to spread Frederick’s remaining cap charges over the next two years.
Instead of an $11.975 million charge for 2020, Frederick, who announced his retirement in March, will take up $4.975 million this year and $6.06 million in 2021, per Archer.
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How They’ll Spend the Cash
The Cowboys entered Thursday with roughly $4.138 million in available cap room, according to Spotrac.com. They now have a little over $11 million, more than enough to ink their seven-man rookie class, predicted to cost $7.376 million.
First-round wide receiver CeeDee Lamb, the No. 17 overall pick, is projected to receive a fully-guaranteed four-year contract, with a fifth-year team option. His cap charge, per Spotrac, is estimated at $2.547 million, highest among his fellow incomers. Second-round cornerback Trevon Diggs will account for about half of that figure, or $1.149 million.
Archer reports the newly-freed money “does not impact the negotiations involving quarterback Dak Prescott,” who is scheduled to count a whopping $31.4 million against the cap in 2020 — the price of his exclusive franchise tag, which he’s yet to sign.
Moving Forward Without Frederick
The No. 31 overall choice of the 2013 draft, Frederick called it quits following 96 starts across his seven-year career. He missed the entire 2018 season with Guillain-Barre Syndrome, an autoimmune disorder.
Frederick returned in 2019 and made all 16 starts, earning his fifth Pro Bowl selection. He retired having logged 1,117 offensive snaps (99.64 percent), most among all of the Cowboys’ stalwart offensive linemen, including perennial Pro Bowlers Zack Martin and Tyron Smith.
“I made my return to the field, played well overall, and was selected to the Pro Bowl, but it was a difficult year for me,” Frederick said in a lengthy statement on the day of his retirement. “Each day I faced a struggle: I could no longer perform at my highest level. Playing ‘well’ is not what I expect of myself and is not what my teammates deserve. Because of this, I know my days as a football player are done. I am proud of what I have accomplished in my career, and I walk away with my head held high.”
Dallas boasts a number of candidates to replace Frederick on the pivot. The tentative front-runner is veteran Joe Looney, whom the club re-signed this offseason. But he should face competition from sophomore interior lineman Connor McGovern and fourth-round rookie Tyler Biadasz. It’s also possible incumbent left guard Connor Williams is tried at center.
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