I bet you’ve forgotten that Cowboys receiver Miles Austin is going to be a free agent at the end of this year.
Well, it’s not all that bad. Austin will be a restricted free agent after this year, so it’d take a pretty big offer to keep Austin from coming back.
Still, with the way that Austin has been playing this year, Cowboys owner and general manager Jerry Jones could have to pony up some serious cash.
Using the 2008 collective bargaining agreement, the Cowboys could offer Austin a 1-year, $2.562 million offer and, if Austin refused to sign, the team that did sign him would have to surrender a first-round pick and a third-round pick.
Some teams would be willing to take that hit in the draft, with the way that Austin has been playing. Jones would still have the right of first refusal if another team were to offer Austin a contract.
The right of first refusal works like this: let’s say the Seahawks and super-rich owner Paul Allen come in and offer Austin a 5-year, $40 million contract. Jones would have a week to match that offer. If Jones did match the offer, the Cowboys would contain Austin’s rights. If not, the Cowboys would receive the Seahawks’ first and third-round picks in this year’s draft. That would be the sixth overall pick in this year’s draft, which is projected to be Tennessee’s Eric Berry. If that were to happen, I’d be the first to say “Welcome to Dallas, Mr. Woodso….Mr. Berry.”
The scary thing is, they just might push Jerry for Austin. They have Denver’s first-round pick in this year’s draft and Austin is better than anybody in college right now. Having Austin to complement T.J. Houshmandzadeh would be pretty dangerous. It’d likely be the other way around, as Houshmandzadeh thrives when he’s the second receiving option.
That being said, there’s no way Jones lets Austin go. I wouldn’t think that Austin would want to, given his chemistry with Romo and star status on one of the most prestigious teams in all of sports. Jones will do the right thing here and give Austin the contract he deserves.