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January 20, 2010

Free agency

Because the Cowboys made the divisional round of the playoffs, they will be limited in what they can do in free agency. In an uncapped year, which 2010 is expected to be, there is a “final eight rule.” The final eight teams are allowed to sign only one player with a salary of $4.925 million or more. They can sign as many free agents they want for a first-year base salary of $3.275 million or less. (The final four teams are even more restricted.)


The Cowboys’ main priority, though, is re-signing their own free agents. Guard Montrae Holland is the only unrestricted free agent, and it wouldn't be a big loss if he signed elsewhere. But the Cowboys want to and will sign most of their 13 restricted free agents: Miles Austin, Stephen Bowen, Cletis Gordon, Jason Hatcher, Sam Hurd, Pat McQuistan, Cory Procter, Duke Preston, Gerald Sensabaugh, Junior Siavii, Marcus Spears, Shaun Suisham and Pat Watkins.


It is not a good year for unrestricted free agents. Kyle Orton is the top quarterback. Terrell Owens and Antonio Bryant, two ex-Cowboys, are the biggest name receivers. The best players on the market, assuming they hit the market, are: DT Vince Wilfork, LB Karlos Dansby, DE Julius Peppers, DE/OLB Aaron Kampman, CB Dunta Robinson, S Ryan Clark and DE Kyle Vanden Bosch. There is no way the Patriots are letting Wilfork get away, and several others will re-sign with their own team or be franchised.


If you're wondering about kickers, there are more than a few of those: Jay Feely, Shayne Graham, Sebastian Janikowski, Olindo Mare, Neil Rackers, Jeff Reed and Matt Stover are scheduled to become free agents.


-- Charean Williams






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