Lucky Break: The Dallas Cowboys Can Tag Two Players in 2020

Amari Cooper #19, Dak Prescott #4, and Ezekiel Elliott #21 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Amari Cooper #19, Dak Prescott #4, and Ezekiel Elliott #21 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Cowboys have a handful of elite players they want to keep from hitting free agency this offseason, luckily for them, 2020 is the one year they can use both tags

Normally when a team like the Dallas Cowboys has multiple high-end free agents hitting the market at the same time, tough decisions must be made. That’s because in normal offseasons teams are only allowed to use one of their “tags” per league year.

But this is not a normal offseason. With the current CBA (collective bargaining agreement) set to expire, teams are afforded the use of both the franchise and the transition tag in the same offseason. That’s particularly fortunate for the Dallas Cowboys who have three upper echelon players all set to hit free agency at the same time.

Avoiding a dilemma

Following the 2014 season (the year the Dallas Cowboys lost that heartbreaker in Green Bay) they were faced with a dilemma: Since common ground on long-term deals could not be found, Dez Bryant and DeMarco Murray where set to be free agents. And since only one player could be tagged per season, Dallas needed to decide between these two elite players.

March of 2015, Dallas opted to tag Dez and subsequently allowed Murray to hit the open market. Murray would eventually sign in Tennessee while Dez would eventually come to a long-term deal. But the damage was done. Dallas never could rediscover the success of the 2014 season and none of the triplets ever approached that last great 2014 season they had together.

With Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, and Byron Jones all expected to hit free agency at the same time, the table is set for a similar dilemma. But while tough decisions still remain, usage of both the transition and franchise tag make things considerably more digestible this time around.

The Dallas Cowboys have been negotiating with Dak Prescott for over a year now. It’s tough to say exactly how far apart the two sides are but it’s clear the Cowboys have no intention of moving on from Dak, even if it does mean they have to pay him like a top-3 QB.

If the Cowboys could somehow get a deal done with their franchise arm before free agency kicks off, Dallas could potentially keep both Byron Jones and Amari Cooper with the tag. In the hierarchy of things, Dak is clear Priority No. 1. But some questions still surround both Byron and Amari. That’s why the tag may even be preferable than a log-term commitment.

A good offseason to be unsure

Amari was an elite presence at times last season but injuries clearly hampered him and fellow WR Michael Gallup established himself as a top-20 NFL WR. Perhaps the one-year commitment of a tag is preferable to a market setting long-term deal?

Similarly, Byron Jones importance also falls under question. No, it’s not like another young CB has stepped up to rival him, but with only 2 career interceptions in 79 career games, Jones’ worth in the NFL is being questioned. Was it the scheme holding him back or is that just the way Jones is? The Cowboys may want to see if Jones breaks out in a new scheme under Mike Nolan before they pony up top-5 CB money.

Now, if a deal cannot be made with Dak, we go back to those “tough decisions” we last saw in 2015. The Cowboys will either have to come to a long-term agreement with Jones or Cooper OR be willing to let either Jones or Cooper walk in free agency.

Next. Cowboys Draft: Defensive Players You Need to Know. dark

This is a critical offseason for the Dallas Cowboys but having two tags to work with certainly helps. In fact, the two tags may be more preferable to a team still evaluating its players.

  • Published on 01/21/2020 at 17:01 PM
  • Last updated at 01/21/2020 at 13:48 PM