Cowboys convert Zack Martin’s final contract year to get under salary cap

The Dallas Cowboys have pulled their first trigger of the 2024 league year. On Friday, just 72 hours before the legal tampering window opens for free agency, the team made on of the moves that will allow them to start shopping. Whether that be at Saks Fifth Avenue or Walmart remains to be seen, but teams must at a minimum be under the $255.4 million salary cap by Wednesday, 4pm eastern time.

Dallas was approximately $11 million over the cap, but on Friday restructured the final year of Zack Martin’s contract, pushing cap hit into the future, to get themselves under the threshold.

Martin, scheduled to make $18 million in base salary this season, all guaranteed after a holdout last training camp, was set to cost Dallas $28.5 million against the cap.

A player’s cap hit is a combination of current year base salary and incentives, plus any amortized bonus money from previous seasons that had been spread out over the length of the contract.

Martin had $10.5 million of bonus hits for 2024 in addition to the base salary.

In restructuring the deal, Dallas still gives Martin his entire $18 million of salary, but they converted $16.25 million of that into a bonus while adding a third void year to his deal.

Void years are accounting tools NFL teams have that allow them to push cap allocations beyond the actual length of the deal. Martin now has four void years, from 2025 to 2028, on his deal totaling just under $23 million.

If no extension is worked out before next season, then all of the void year cap hits will be on the Cowboys’ 2025 cap as dead money.

For now, that $16.25 million restructure bonus, which will still be paid to Martin this season, is allocated evenly between the 2024, 2025, 2026, 2027 and 2028 cap amounts, at $3.25 million per year.

So Martin’s 2024 cap hit is now his new base salary, $1.75 million, his previous bonus allocation, $10.5 million, and the new restructure allocation of $3.25 million.

Now Martin’s 2024 cap hit is $15.5 million, saving the team $13 million in cap space while still paying Martin the exact same amount. With NFL salary caps going up every year, that $13 million takes up a lower percentage of future year’s caps, essentially giving the team greater spending power.

According to Over the Cap, Dallas is now $1.8 million under the cap.


Story originally appeared on Cowboys Wire