MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 31: Miles Austin #19 of the NFC's Dallas Cowboys looks and smiles to the stands during the 2010 AFC-NFC Pro Bowl game at Sun Life Stadium on January 31, 2010 in Miami Gardens, Florida. The AFC defeated the NFC 41-34. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Miles Austin isn't going anywhere.
There's little doubt that, as the roster stands, Dallas needs Miles Austin. Just imagine, for a moment, that the Jets had nabbed Austin last off-season--on second thought, don't. It's a grotesque picture.
The good news for Dallas, in this light, is the absence of a collective bargaining agreement--which makes Austin a restricted free agent. Had a CBA been negotiated, making Austin an unrestricted free agent, the team would likely have to slap the franchise tag on him, keeping him in Dallas for 2010 at a cost of nearly $10 million.
As it stands, Dallas has until March 5--the beginning of the free agency period--to tender Austin, which seems the most likely scenario. The Pro Bowler will likely warrant the most valuable tender available for RFAs, at $3.168 million and with first- and third-round compensatory picks, should Austin depart for another team.
Let's just hope it doesn't come to that.