Cowboys' offseason begins

February, 9, 2010
2/09/10
3:55
PM ET
Now that the Super Bowl is over, it's time to worry about the offseason regarding the Cowboys.

First things first: the parties. With the NBA All-Star Game in town this week, several players will attend parties across the area. Miles Austin, Jason Hatcher, Patrick Crayton, DeMarcus Ware and Bradie James are among those who will host parties this week.

Now, the business at hand.

Injuries

Jay Ratliff (elbows) and Ware (bone spur) were slated to undergo surgeries. Neither has done so.

Free agents

The Cowboys have 13 restricted free agents and one unrestriced free agent. The four biggest names on this list, Austin, Hatcher, Marcus Spears and Stephen Bowen, are restricted.

I would suspect Spears would receive either a first-round tender offer of $2.6 million or a first- and third-round tender offer of $3.2 million. Spears would like a new deal, since his rookie contract just expired, but with the owners opting out of the current CBA, Spears becomes restricted instead of unrestricted.

Hatcher, meanwhile could get a second-round tender of $1.7 million or even the first-round tender of $2.5 million. Hatcher's reps think he will get a tender instead of a new contract.

Bowen is in the same boat as Hatcher financially but had a better year. He should get a first-round tender of $2.5 million.

What should you do with Austin?

Do you offer him a first- and third-round tender deal of $3.1 million? Jerry Jones has said he would like to work out a longterm deal for Austin. Is the tender offer too small, considering he's coming off a career year which earned him a Pro Bowl berth?

You could put the exclusive franchise tag on Austin, which costs you $9.5 million, and if he produces in the 2010 season then work out a longterm deal with him.

Kicker

Something needs to be done at placekicker. Do you sign Matt Stover, the 42-year-old Lake Highlands grad. His last kick was a 51-yard miss for the Colts in the Super Bowl. He had the distance, but it went wide left.
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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