While the new league year and the official start of NFL free agency aren’t until 4:00 pm EST, teams and prospective free agents are able to begin negotiations as of noon today. The Dallas Cowboys could be in talks potential signings this afternoon, and their own free agents may begin talking to other teams.
Many refer to this as the “legal tampering” period, which is a silly name when you think about it. A more accurate name would simply be “early negotiating,” which is a provision that allows teams and players to talk business prior to the official start of free agency.
The league made this allowance beginning in 2013 to try to help all parties avoid tampering violations. The terms of contracts can be worked out and agreed upon, but no signings are official until the March 13th start of the new league year.
For example, last year the start of free agency was on March 14th. However, Adam Schefter was already reporting on Kirk Cousins signing with the Vikings the morning of March 13th.
So yes, some big things could happen as soon as today.
For the Dallas Cowboys, the most important move of 2019 involves DE DeMarcus Lawrence. While he did receive the franchise tag for a second season, its “non-exclusive” designation means that Lawrence is able to speak with other clubs.
The Cowboys are expecting that the franchise tag, and mainly the two first-round picks they’d get if anyone wants to sign DeMarcus, will scare other teams off. They want to keep their top pass rusher and hope to reach a long-term agreement with him sometime this offseason.
Next up in importance is WR Cole Beasley, but at this point it’s not looking good for him to stay in Dallas. He wants a major offensive role and the compensation that comes with it, but the Cowboys appear set with Amari Cooper and Michael Gallup as their starters.
What’s more, Dallas appears to be hanging on to veteran receivers Tavon Austin and Allen Hurns. With Noah Brown also under contract, the WR depth chart would seem to be filled out already.
The other big name on their free agent list is DL David Irving, but right now he’s notorious for all the wrong reasons. After an Instagram post last week where Irving announced he was quitting football while smoking marijuana, and his indefinite suspension by the NFL for drug use, don’t expect other teams to come calling.
Here is a quick recap of the team’s free agents this offseason:
Dallas Cowboys 2019 Free Agents
- DE DeMarcus Lawrence (franchised)
- WR Cole Beasley
- DL David Irving
- LB Damien Wilson
- TE Geoff Swaim
- WR Tavon Austin (reportedly being re-signed)
- FB Jamize Olawale
- RB Rod Smith
- OT Cameron Fleming
- DT Caraun Reid
- DL Datone Jones
- G/C Marcus Martin
- WR Terrance Williams (released)
Will we see any of these players agree to deals with new teams over the next two days? Could we see Dallas work out a contract with someone new?
The league year may start Wednesday, but for all intents and purposes, 2019 free agency has just begun!