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A new collective bargaining agreement could potentially change the Cowboys offseason contract plans

Things could change if a new CBA is agreed to.

Dallas Cowboys Introduce Head Coach Mike McCarthy Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

As the 2019 NFL season has gone on and is now nearing a close, there have been talks about a new Collective Bargaining Agreement being in the works. The league’s current CBA expires in 2021 which is a relevant point, especially as it pertains to the Dallas Cowboys. Since the 2020 season is the last one under the current CBA, there is a loophole of sorts as far as contract negotiations are concerned.

As we pointed out last year, in 2020 NFL teams can use both the franchise and transition tags on two separate players if they choose to do so. This is because 2020 is the “Final League Year”. ESPN’s Dan Graziano offered this on the subject back in 2019.

Article 10 of the CBA stipulates that, in the Final League Year, teams are allowed to designate one franchise player and one transition player. So, in a hypothetical (and, frankly, unlikely) example in which neither Prescott nor Cooper is signed to a long-term extension by the end of the 2019 season and no new CBA is negotiated by next March, the Cowboys would have the ability to keep both of those players off the open market by designating one a franchise player and the other a transition player.

You have likely thought about how this will be very helpful for the Dallas Cowboys as they will see Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, and Byron Jones (plus plenty others) all become free agents this offseason. That is a lot of talent that the team would really like to keep if the money is right, obviously.

Players are meeting with the NFL on Thursday to talk CBA

It was reported as Super Bowl week began that NFL players are set to meet with the league to discuss the collective bargaining agreement. With the Pro Bowl having just taken place in Orlando and the Super Bowl in Miami, they’re obviously in close proximity.

One of the biggest obstacles that is going to be faced by this group is the detail about 17 games in an NFL season. The players are not in favor.

The chances for striking a deal hinge in large part on how players respond to the idea of 17 games. Some players — including 49ers receiver Emmanuel Sanders, who played 17 regular-season games this year because of a midseason trade — have already spoken out strongly against it. So the NFL must make it worth their while, financially and otherwise, or else players opposed could band together and try to block it.

Under the NFLPA’s constitution, the 11-man executive committee, led by president Eric Winston, is responsible for negotiating a new CBA and making a recommendation to the board with the best offer. The board of 32 reps (one for each club) then votes, with two-thirds of needing to vote to approve the deal before it is passed to all dues-paying players, who must ratify by a simple majority.

The executive committee has not yet made any such recommendation, per sources. One source said it’s possible the board could bring a proposal on a new collective bargaining agreement to all players after the meeting; another source called that a “dream scenario” that is unlikely.

It’s hard to imagine that a new CBA could be agreed to before free agency began, but it is worth considering that if one is ultimately reached that it could potentially impact the detail the Cowboys could theoretically exploit. If 2020 is regarded as some sort of extension year by the old and new CBA then it might not be considered the “Final League Year” anymore.

Keep your head on a swivel.

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