The free agency headlines for the Cowboys this year were dominated by the release of DeMarcus Ware, the loss of Jason Hatcher to the Redskins, and the signing of Henry Melton.
But there were more moves that did not garner quite that level of attention: The Cowboys added three additional free agents in DE Jeremy Mincey, DT Terrell McClain and QB Brandon Weeden, who joined the Cowboys for the vet minimum. They also cut Phil Costa, who signed with the Indianapolis Colts, and Danny McCray re-joined his former special teams coach Joe DeCamillis in Chicago.
But what about the remaining Cowboys free agents? Here's a look at the Cowboys free agents heading into 2014 and their current status:
|Name||Pos||Status||2014 Team||Comp. Pick eligible?|
|Miles Austin||WR||cut||- -||No|
|Everette Brown||DE||cut||- -||No|
|Phillip Tanner||RB||RFA||- -||No|
|Brian Waters||G||UFA||- -||tbd|
|Ryan Cook||C||UFA||- -||tbd|
|Jon Kitna||QB||UFA||- -||tbd|
|Anthony Spencer||DE||UFA||- -||tbd|
|Edgar Jones||DE||UFA||- -||tbd|
|Jarius Wynn||DE||UFA||- -||tbd|
|Ernie Sims||LB||UFA||- -||tbd|
As we look toward 2015, with just four free agents signed and up to 15 players leaving the team, you'd expect the Cowboys to receive a lot of compensatory picks for their losses. But the compensatory pick formula doesn't work quite that way.
The number of comp picks a team receives equals the net loss of compensatory free agents up to a maximum of four per team. Importantly, not every free agent lost or acquired automatically qualifies as a compensatory free agent.
Players who do not qualify as compensatory free agents: players who have been cut (i.e. Ware, Austin, Costa, Irvin, Brown), restricted or exclusive rights free agents that were not tendered (i.e. Philip Tanner), players whose contract value is below about $1 million per year (i.e. Danny McCray or Brandon Weeden) and players signed after June 1 won’t impact the number of comp picks for their former or new team. With that out of the way, let's look at where the Cowboys stand.
|Player||POS||New Team||Years||Contract Value||Annual value|
|Player||POS||Old Team||Years||Contract Value||Annual value|
McCray and Weeden don't make enough to count as compensatory free agents, which leaves the Cowboys with three URFAs signed versus just one lost. Here's a look at the remaining players who could qualify as compensatory free agents if they sign a contract worth at least $1 million per year before June 1:
- Brian Waters: Still hasn't had the triceps surgery he'd need to play in 2014. His well-documented aversion to training camps means he won't sign any type of contract before June 1, if at all.
- Anthony Spencer: The Giants and Redskins showed some interest, but nobody is signing Spencer without some reassurance about his knee. No contract before June 1.
- Jon Kitna: Retired, and this time for good.
- Ryan Cook: Given his health status, highly unlikely to sign anywhere before June 1, and probably not for $1 million either.
- Ernie Sims: Hard to imagine much of a demand for Sims, and certainly not for anything exceeding the vet minimum.
- Edgar Jones: He might sign up for training camp somewhere, but probably won't see more than the vet minimum.
- Jarius Wynn: The Cowboys said they'd allow Wynn to test the free-agent market. There's a possibility the Cowboys could bring him back for the vet minimum if no other team shows interest.
To get at least one comp pick in 2015, three players from the list above would have to meet the criteria for a compensatory free agent. To put it bluntly: that isn't happening.
The Cowboys will not get any comp picks in the 2015 NFL draft.
All the more reason to make sure they get the most out of the ones they have this year.