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Miles Austin deal leads Cowboys' restructuring spree

Holding court with NFL reporters last week, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones scoffed at the notion that the team would have to finalize an extension for Tony Romo to clear up $20 million for salary-cap compliance.

Mission accomplished.

The Cowboys saved $4 million Wednesday by adding two voidable years for extra proration of pass rusher DeMarcus Ware's contract.

Tight end Jason Witten agreed to have $4.56 million of his $5.5 million base salary converted into a signing bonus, saving roughly $3.65 million against the cap.

The most newsworthy of the restructured deals was that of wide receiver Miles Austin, who ensured his roster spot by converting his base salary to a bonus that saves $3 million in cap room.

Thanks to a mechanism built into his contract last offseason, cornerback Brandon Carr's $14.3 million base salary was reduced to $715,000 with the difference of $13.5 million converted to a signing bonus. That move alone saved $10.8 million in salary-cap space for 2013.

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Offensive linemen Nate Livings, Mackenzy Bernadeau and Ryan Cook also reworked their deals, with defensive tackle Jay Ratliff, right tackle Doug Free and cornerback Orlando Scandrick yet to come.

All told, the moves add up to between $20 and $25 million in salary-cap savings. Just like that, the Cowboys are under the cap without touching Romo's contract. Whether all of the activity is enough to make a run at keeping linebacker Anthony Spencer off the market remains to be seen. We wouldn't count on it.

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.

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