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Timing of New CBA Could Impact Cowboys Spending Plans

For the NFL and the players, the next collective bargaining agreement has some big issues to work out. 17 games or 16 games? What to do about marijuana? How should the revenue be shared? For the Dallas Cowboys, when the collective bargaining agreement is signed could have a significant impact on their plans this offseason.

With Dak Prescott, Amari Cooper, Byron Jones, and Robert Quinn all expected to receive rich contracts this offseason, the Dallas Cowboys are getting creative to try and work out deals for at least three of the above, if not all four. Though the writing on the wall seems to indicate that Byron Jones will be playing elsewhere in 2020, if they could get him in on a deal similar to the one La’el Collins signed last August, I’m sure they’d love to bring him back. However, with reports out there that Jones could be seeking the richest cornerback contract in the NFL, the Cowboys seem willing to let him pursue a future elsewhere.

A lot of the planning for the Cowboys has centered on the idea that they’d have two tags available to use this offseason with the NFL and the NFL Player’s Association working on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA). Using the franchise tag and the transition tag on some combination of Prescott, Cooper, and Quinn would allow the Cowboys more time to work out long-term contracts with their premier free agents.

With several reports coming out yesterday about potential rule changes that could come with a new CBA, there’s a possibility that the Cowboys may not have the ability to use both tags this offseason.

Dan Graziano of is reporting that if a new CBA is reached prior to the start of the league year on March 18th, then NFL teams would only be able to apply the traditional franchise tags to their top free agents.

Dan Graziano on Twitter

Something else to watch in CBA talks. If a new deal is agreed to by March 18, it would start with the 2020 league year and run through 2029. Teams would lose the ability to use both franchise and transition tags in 2020. Affects Cowboys, Titans, Bucs, among others.

That creates some urgency for the Dallas Cowboys to hammer out a long-term deal or two prior to March 10th, the deadline to apply the franchise tag. Dak Prescott is still the biggest domino that needs to topple over, but the Cowboys could get deals done with Jones, Quinn, or Cooper while they continue to hammer out the structure and details for their franchise quarterback’s contract.

Deadlines make deals, and while NFL free agency doesn’t officially open until March 18th, the Cowboys will need to have a plan in place for the possibility they won’t be able to use the transition tag this offseason.

With new reports comes optimism that a new collective bargain agreement could be ratified over the next few weeks.

More Collective Bargaining Agreement Notes

Expanded Playoff

Probably the biggest piece of information to come out yesterday is the proposed plan in the new collective bargaining agreement to expand the NFL’s playoff field from 12 to 14 teams, adding a wild card team to each conference. It’s an interesting move given the popularity of the NFL’s playoff structure.

If the 2019 playoffs would have allowed an extra wild card the NFC would have sent the 9-7 Los Angeles Rams and the AFC’s seventh representative would have been the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Expanded Schedule

There’s still no sense of whether or not the agreement would add a 17th game to the schedule. It appears that the two sides are still attempting to work that out. If the league and the players were to agree to a 17 game schedule, it would mean an increase of the player’s share of the revenue generated by the league.

Adam Schefter on Twitter

More on the transformational CBA proposal now on the table, per sources: As part of the new deal, players go from 47% share under current deal to 48% share at 16 games, and then to 48.5% share if they go to 17 games, shifting $5 billion of revenue to players’ side.


Wherever you stand on the idea of marijuana use both recreationally or medicinally, North American sports has drastically shifted its view on the substance over the last several years. Behind the other major sports leagues, the NFL has the most stringent discipline and one of the longest testing windows in the league.

All of that could change under the new CBA as Patrik Walker from CBS Sports writes.

Walker outlines in his piece that the testing window could be reduced from the current four months — April to August — to two weeks. Though they aren’t completely removing it from the banned substance list, they are making it easier for players to be “clean” when their testing time comes around.

What that means for Dallas Cowboys Defensive End Randy Gregory is any one’s guess. Gregory remains indefinitely suspended by the commissioner’s office and there’s been no news from The Star about the possibility of him playing anytime soon.

What do you think?

John Williams

Written by John Williams

Dallas Cowboys optimist bringing factual, reasonable takes to Cowboys Nation and the NFL Community. I wasn't always a Cowboys fan, but I got here as quick as I could.

Make sure you check out the Inside The Cowboys Podcast featuring John Williams and other analysts following America's Team.


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  1. Let me say this why is Pot illegal for football when if anything it makes a player tired and sleepy. How the heck does it give you an advantage in playing. Booze isnt illegal but pot is? What a joke!! I can see testing for steroids or coke or meth but pot isnt an advantage in the game. They need to change this rule. Have a vote

  2. If you look at how many states still have marijuana use as illegal recreationally, but many still medicinally, the NFL is adapting rather in step with the change. I know it has been too slow for many people’s preference, especially the players, but it isn’t unreasonable for the league to feel torn about how to treat the issue when they realize that kids are watching/listening. Public image does matter in business.

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