IRVING, Texas --Where safety ranks on the Cowboys' offseason priority list remains to be seen, but Tyvon Branch -- one of the position's top free agents who played his rookie season under Rob Ryan in 2008 -- will reportedly receive the franchise tag from Oakland.
The 25-year-old Branch had 80 tackles, four pass breakups, one sack and one interception for the Raiders last season. The franchise tag for safeties is somewhere between $6 and $7 million.
The Cowboys signed Gerald Sensabaugh to a five-year, $22.5 million extension in December, but fellow starter Abram Elam is a free agent. The club has seemed reluctant to hand out big safety contracts since Ken Hamlin's six-year, $39 million deal in 2008 -- he was waived two years later -- and hasn't drafted one higher than the fourth round (Akwasi Owusu-Ansah, 2010) since Roy Williams went 8th overall in 2002.