The Cowboys didn't make a lot of headlines in free agency this year, but they did make some moves, even if they didn't garner a lot of attention outside of Dallas. They added four free agents in DT Cedric Thornton, DE Benson Mayowa, RB Alfred Morris, and OG Joey Looney. At the same time, Cowboys free agents Matt Cassel, Mackenzy Bernadeau and Robert Turbin signed with other teams, while ten other Cowboys free agents re-signed or were tendered in Dallas.
Here's a look at the 20 Cowboys players who became free agents heading into the 2016 offseason, and what their status is today:
|Name||Pos||Status||2016 Team||Comp. Pick eligible?|
|Greg Hardy||DE||UFA||- -||tbd|
|Nick Hayden||DT||UFA||- -||tbd|
|Jeremy Mincey||DE||UFA||- -||tbd|
|Danny McCray||S||UFA||- -||tbd|
|Tyler Clutts||FB||UFA||- -||tbd|
|Rodney Smith||WR||UFA||- -||tbd|
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, restricted or exclusive rights free agents that were not tendered, players whose original team did not match an offer sheet (i.e. Benson Mayowa), players whose contract value is below about $1.5 million per year (i.e. Robert Turbin) and players signed after May 12th (previously 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 today.
|Compensatory Free Agents lost: 2||Compensatory Free Agents gained: 2|
||Contract Value||POS||Annual value|
|Non-compensatory free agents
||Contract Value||POS||Annual value|
Robert Turbin and Joe Looney don't make enough to count as compensatory free agents. Benson Mayowa became a non-compensatory free agent when the Raiders didn't match his offer sheet from the Cowboys. Which leaves the Cowboys with two UFAs signed versus two lost, though Bernadeau is a shaky option as he's sitting right on the edge of what could be the cutoff point for compensatory free agents in 2017.
Right now, the Cowboys are not due any comp picks for the 2017 draft. But that could change, depending on what happens with the remaining Cowboys compensatory free agents if they sign a contract worth at least $1.5 million per year with another team before May 12. Here's a brief rundown of those free agents.
- Greg Hardy: IF (notice the big 'if') Hardy signs a contract, it will be for a lot more than just $1.5 million. The problem is, that contract has to be signed before May 12 to result in a comp pick for Dallas. And the odds of that happening aren't looking real good right now.
- Jeremy Mincey: Mincey is probably going to land with another team at some point. Problem is, it's probably going to be for less than $1.5 million (the value of his last contract in Dallas), and it may well be after May 12.
- Nick Hayden: Hayden was playing on an $825,000 contract last year, highly unlikely he's getting much more from another team, even if he signs before May 12.
- Danny McCray: The Cowboys signed him on May 14 last year, to an $825,000 contract. Highly unlikely he gets picked up before May 12, and certainly not for anything close to what would make him a comp free agent.
- Tyler Clutts: Hard to imagine much of a demand for Clutts, and certainly not for anything exceeding the vet minimum.
- Rodney Smith, Casey Walker: They might sign up for training camp somewhere, but probably won't see more than the vet minimum.
Looking over the list above, and assuming the Cowboys don't sign another free agent before May 12 to a contract worth more than $1.5 million, the Cowboys chances at a comp pick in 2017 don't look good. I guess there's still a theoretical chance Hardy and/or Mincey get picked up and would qualify as compensatory free agents, but the chances for that are slim at best. And there's also a good chance that Matt Cassel won't survive the season in Tennessee, should they ever ask him to play - and players cut during the season lose their status as compensatory free agents.
The Cowboys probably won't get any comp picks in the 2017 NFL draft.
All the more reason to make sure they get the most out of the ones they have this year.