Irving, TX (SportsNetwork.com) - The Dallas Cowboys restructured quarterback Tony Romo's contract on Wednesday, freeing up roughly $13 million in cap space for this season.
The Cowboys did not have enough money last month to retain the services of 2014 NFL rushing champion DeMarco Murray. Chip Kelly's Philadelphia Eagles, who earlier traded LeSean McCoy to the Buffalo Bills, swooped in and gave Murray a five-year, $42 million contract.
Romo indicated in a radio interview Tuesday he was going to restructure his contract and also said he was willing to take a pay cut so the team could re- sign Murray.
"DeMarco ended up asking me, 'Why don't you take a pay cut?' I said, 'I will. I would take a pay cut to go do this,'" Romo said. "I was like, 'They're going to restructure me.' That's the same thing in some ways, just for the salary cap purposes. He was like, 'OK, now we're back to being friends again.' I would take $5 million less if it meant getting him back.
"He knew that. It was just funny how he was literally worried about that part of it for a week. I'm like, 'That's not the reason.' I'm like, 'Obviously I'll restructure. I would even take a pay cut.' He was like, 'OK, we can be friends again.' It's amazing what you think about in those moments."
The full Romo restructure clears enough salary cap space for linebacker Rolando McClain, who agreed to a one-year deal on Wednesday, and frees up money for the Cowboys to sign their draft picks and possibly make other free agent additions if needed.
The additional salary cap space will also make room for more money that could be owed to defensive end Greg Hardy if he meets roster and performance incentives in his one-year contract.
Romo was set to make a base salary of $17 million in 2015 and count an NFL- high $27.773 million against the salary cap. But the Cowboys lowered his base salary for 2015 down to about $1 million by converting the remaining $16 million owed to Romo into a signing bonus. Romo's cap hit will increase by about $3.2 million over the next four years.
Ironically, disgruntled Vikings running back Adrian Peterson -- rumored to be sought by Dallas and known to be unhappy with Minnesota -- is set to earn a base salary of $12.75 million this season.