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DeMarcus Ware restructures Dallas Cowboys contract

The decision by linebacker DeMarcus Ware to restructure his contract, saving the Cowboys $4 million against the salary cap, is merely one step in the team's daunting task of clearing $20 million of cap space.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said last week that it is "not necessarily" the case that the Cowboys must have a contract extension done for quarterback Tony Romo in order to get under the 2013 salary cap.

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It would help, of course, with Romo's cap number currently sitting at $16.8 million, but it's not a must.

"It is what you want to do," Jones added.

That's true. But what if it's not done? If the Cowboys do not sign Romo to a long-term deal, they are looking at more than a handful of restructured contracts in order to fix this situation. One source has been told the Cowboys could re-do as many as 10 contracts, though a team source said that sounded a bit high.

Among the big names whose deals the team might look to re-work are: Offensive tackle Doug Free, cornerback Brandon Carr, guard Nate Livings, backup quarterback Kyle Orton, defensive back Orlando Scandrick, wide receiver Miles Austin and tight end Jason Witten.

Essentially, the team would convert base salaries to bonuses, guaranteeing the players would be on the roster. It's not clear yet who, if anyone, would take a pay cut. Free would be among the targets there, though the Cowboys do see him in their future.

NFL.com's Albert Breer reported Wednesday night that Ware restructured his current deal, saving the Cowboys $4 million against the cap. The Cowboys were able to re-do Ware's deal by adding two extra voidable years for extra proration of Ware's bonus. The deal voids back to the contract's original expiration of 2015.

Follow Ian Rapoport on Twitter @RapSheet.

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