FRISCO, Texas – Finally, some clarity.
NFL Players Association members voted to ratify a new Collective Bargaining Agreement that was submitted and approved by league ownership last month. The vote concluded Saturday night and was a approved by a narrow majority of just 1,019 to 959.
The new CBA will last through the 2030 season, bringing a decade of labor peace, not to mention wide-sweeping changes. The deal will boost player revenue, expand the postseason by two teams and eventually bump the regular season schedule up to 17 games.
Those are all long-term issues, though. For the Dallas Cowboys, the new CBA also presents some challenges for the short term – as in, the extremely short term and how it relates to Dak Prescott and Amari Cooper.
Heading into the 2020 offseason, NFL clubs were allowed to use both the franchise tag and the transition tag, as it marked the final year of the CBA.
With a new CBA in place that rule no longer applies, and teams may now use just one tag. With the voting deadline for the new deal pushed back, the tag deadline has also been moved to Monday at 10:59 a.m. (CDT).
Essentially, the Cowboys have two high-priority free agents they'd like to keep in Prescott and Cooper, and not a lot of time to secure their services. Cowboys officials have already said they will tag Prescott if a long-term agreement can't be reached by the deadline.
If that's the case, they have one day to negotiate with their Pro Bowl quarterback before they must tag him.
That also presents an interesting situation for Cooper. The Cowboys won't be tagging him unless a long-term agreement is reached with Prescott, but there have been reports that the team is working with their star receiver on an extension of his own.
As of now, the new league year is still slated to start at 3 p.m. CT on Wednesday, which gives the Cowboys roughly three days to work with before Cooper becomes an unrestricted free agent.
The new CBA also helps provide clarity for the long-term outlook of these deals, though. There has been plenty of speculation that NFL teams had been holding off on signing extensions until the deal had been approved, as the future was too murky. With a new CBA in place, clubs have a better idea of how they can structure multi-year deals within the confines of the salary cap.
Perhaps that can help ease the negotiations between the Cowboys and their star players. Regardless, the approval of the new CBA further confirms that they'll have their work cut out for them in the coming week.