NFL Free Agency officially starts Thursday, March 9; however, the NFL recently began allowing players to negotiate two days before.
We will see deals being hammered out, but nothing will be official until those deals are signed on March 9, the official start of the new league year.
March 9th also marks the beginning of the trade period.
The Cowboys are a little over $3 million under the cap. I would expect a few more contract restructures to take place very soon especially if the Cowboys are looking to sign a few of their own free agents.
The key word is few.
Who are the Cowboys most likely going to try to bring back?
Here’s who’s set to hit the open market:
Brandon Carr, CB
Morris Claiborne, CB
J.J. Wilcox, S
Barry Church, S
Justin Durant, LB
Andrew Gachkar, LB
Jack Crawford, DE
Ryan Davis, DE
Terrell McClain, DT
Mark Sanchez, QB
Kellen Moore, QB
Darren McFadden, RB
Lance Dunbar, RB
Terrance Williams, WR
Brice Butler, WR
Ronald Leary, OG
Jonathan Cooper, OG
Gavin Escobar, TE
WR Brice Butler will probably have a small deal to return and give the Cowboys some depth, alongside a rookie WR addition most likely.
CB Brandon Carr is another player the Cowboys would like to bring back at a cap friendly deal. I would expect a 2-3yr deal. I’m not sure the Cowboys would like to lose both starting CBs from last season, but Carr is the most reliable of the two.
QB Kellen Moore should be able to be had at an affordable rate, and Scott Linehan likes him. He knows the plays and experienced in this offense
DE Jack Crawford is not a big name, but he serves as a good rotational player. I would expect a short term deal here as well. 1-2yr deal.
I think everyone else will get the chance to see what their worth is on the open market, and if nothing manifests, they may return to Dallas at an affordable rate. Nothing long term for any of them.
Barry Church would be a good keep, but he will likely take the cash and not look back. The Carolina Panthers are rumored to pick him up early.
Terrell McClain is a solid 1-tech, but health inconsistencies have haunted him most of his career. The Cowboys would like him back, but there are a good group of teams that have interest that could take him out of the Cowboys price range.
Will Tony Romo be released?
Ideally, a player would like to be released in order to find a team before other spots gets gobbled up. Luckily for the Cowboys, the free agent QB market is awful, nothing much out there.
The NFL draft prospects are going to get over-drafted, and still being dubbed a weak QB class even after the NFL Combine.
These next few days will give us some closure on the Romo saga. Teams will see he is not available in free agency and begin official trade inquiries for Romo’s services.
We’ll see what happens.