According to Over The Cap, the Dallas Cowboys are the fourth team with the most salary cap space in the NFL.

That means little for Cowboys Nation, as the team’s philosophy is clearly to spend little in free agency and take care of the salary cap. Building through the NFL Draft has been the front office’s motto for a long while now and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon.

That’s always been frustrating for those looking up available free agents and realizing the Cowboys could get better at positions of need with a pickup or two. It’s even more exasperating when that notification hits your phone telling you the Los Angeles Rams have paid yet another player.

Recent research makes it even more frustrating for Cowboys fans.

Lately, cash over cap has become a big conversation around the NFL. It’s an important concept to understand when discussing the salary cap as many continue to call the cap a “myth.”

Before we dive deeper into what this all means for the Dallas Cowboys, check out the clip below where Andrew Brandt (former Packers GM and host of the Business of Sports podcast) explains cash over cap.

Here’s the thing.

At its core, the salary cap is an accounting system. Every penny a team pays out to its players will be accounted for in the cap… eventually. Prorated bonuses allow teams to keep kicking the can down the road. At some point, all those dollars will need to be reflected in the salary cap.

But as NFL revenues consistently rise every year, “kicking the can down the road” is easy for teams with money.

Are the Cowboys wasting what could be their biggest strength?

According to Pro Football Network’s research, the Cowboys have the fifth richest owner in Jerry Jones with an estimated net worth of $9.1 billion. The Rams’ real state magnate Stan Kroenke ranks fourth.*

*Note: This ranking was made before Bob Walton’s purchase of the Denver Broncos. 

As teams like the Rams continue to manipulate the salary cap thanks to their deep pockets and their ability to hand out prorated bonuses left and right, one can’t help but wonder why the Cowboys are not that aggressive.

Team-building in the NFL is made easier if you have more money, even with a salary cap in place.

But there’s still a big challenge. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero said it best: you have to be right. The Rams aren’t just paying their guys, they’re doing it early. That allows them to get an even bigger benefit out of their moves.

On the other hand, the Cowboys’ negotiating tactics usually center around playing the waiting game.

The reality is that’s how Jerry and Stephen Jones operate. But football has always been about evolution. Offenses adapt, and defenses react. It’s the eternal chess match. Can the Cowboys apply that principle on the money side of the sport?

Featured image via Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports