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What Kind of Tender(ness) will the Dallas Cowboys Show Miles Austin?

It's begun:

The Miami Herald's Armando Salguero writes that the Dolphins would definitely be interested in Miles Austin, should his free agent tender be low:

I do not expect the Dolphins to make a big splash in restricted free agency. They did not last year. But Tuna Helper Jeff Ireland is going to scour the list below -- this one acquired from the National Football League Players Association by Dolphins In Depth -- and I would not be surprised if he seriously considers at least one player from the list.

Obvious player of interest to the Dolphins: Miles Austin of the Dallas Cowboys.

This should not shock anybody here.  Ireland was in charge of personnel when the Cowboys landed Austin -- though I understand the actual scout who found him is still on Dallas' staff -- and Austin's coming out came in the playoff loss to Seattle, when he returned a kickoff for a touchdown.  Ireland might look on Austin as one of "his guys."

The question then becomes what type of tender the Cowboys will offer?  As a restricted free agent, Austin's compensation will be determined by the amount of money Dallas offers him.  He was undrafted out of Monmouth in New Jersey, so a low tender means the Cowboys would receive no compensation if he were lured away. 

The Dallas Examiner says he's likely to get a second-round tender

This raises other questions.  If Terrell Owens is on the outs, do the Cowboys risk losing Austin?  On the other hand, if you can get Miami's number two, the 56th overall, would you consider that a good trade for Miles Austin? 

I've been in favor of tendering Austin at a first, because I'm concerned about WR depth if the Owens situation further metastasizes.   I wonder if the 56th overall is a great return on investment.  You could see Dallas stay and draft off their needs list with three picks in the 51 to 69th range.

However, the 56th is probably the area where the 2nd round rated talent runs out and the 3rd round talent begins, which is why Miami might seriously consider this.  That does not seem like the best return for Dallas, but two picks in the late 2nd does give the team ammunition to move up into the first round pool.

Lots of food for thought here. 

For what it's worth, the National Football Post's Mike Lombardi thinks getting Miami's 2nd would represent a coup for Dallas.


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