How the Proposed CBA Could Hurt the Cowboys

Among the details of the proposed collective bargaining agreement presented from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell on Tuesday is a change in the league’s free agency policy, which would allow for players to be eligible for unrestricted free agency after four seasons.

For the Dallas Cowboys, this could present some problems.

Offensive tackle Doug Free and defensive ends Stephen Bowen and Jason Hatcher, all of whom figure heavily into the Cowboys plans for the immediate future, would become unrestricted free agents under the CBA. Under the old agreement, they were restricted, and each was given a tender offer--Free got the first- and third-round tender, Bowen and Hatcher the second-round.

But if these offers are made null by the new CBA, the possibility that Dallas could lose some of these guys becomes quite real. Owner and general manager Jerry Jones has made clear that the team wants to sign Free, in particular, to a longterm deal, but he understands that, depending on the language of the CBA, the left tackle’s place in Dallas isn’t exactly a sure thing.

"Under one set of circumstances we've got to sign Free," Jones said, per the Dallas Morning News. "Under another set we may not be able to keep him. We'll see where we are."

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