Today is a potentially important day for the Dallas Cowboys, but odds are actually very high that nothing will happen (outside of normal NFL Combine festivities). Yesterday (February 26th), the league announced that the window to officially place franchise tags on players will officially open today, the 27th. This date had previously been Tuesday the 25th, but the NFL extended it by 48 hours with all of the talks concerning the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
The NFL plans to open the franchise and transition tag window Thursday, and under rules of the Final League Year, teams can use both. However, if/when a new CBA is ratified, its full terms take effect immediately, so the NFLPA would expect any team that used 2 tags to vacate 1.— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) February 26, 2020
What’s important to know is that the NFL also announced that when the franchise tag window opens that teams will be allowed to follow the protocol under the current CBA. The current CBA dictates that under the “Final League Year”, which this is, teams can place both the franchise and transition tags on players. This is very helpful for a Cowboys team that is facing the trio of Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, and Byron Jones all hitting free agency (among others obviously).
As NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero noted in his tweet, if a new CBA is ultimately agreed to by all parties then the league’s rules will revert to normal where only one tag (franchise or transition) can be placed per team. That would cut the Cowboys’ ability to completely protect a player in half.
The window to tag players was set to close on March 10th but with the extension will now remain open until March 12th. This means that the Cowboys have approximately two weeks to get a deal or multiple deals done with one or some combination of their free agents that are likely to be highly-coveted (assuming they do indeed want to keep them).
It is unlikely that we will see teams place multiple tags on players when the window opens because they are likely going to utilize every moment that they can to agree to an extension so that a tag is not necessary.