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Rules won't slow Cowboys free agent talks

4/28/2012

IRVING, Texas -- Over the years the Cowboys have been wildly successful finding undrafted free agents and turning them into starters. Tony Romo and Miles Austin are at the top of the list, but don’t forget about a guy like Stephen Bowen, too.

Owner and general manager Jerry Jones anticipates the Cowboys adding 13-17 undrafted players.

The Cowboys have been willing to pay solid signing bonuses to undrafted players over the years, totaling more than $100,000 on occasion.

Those days are over.

According to the new collective bargaining agreement, teams can spend only $75,000 total in signing bonuses to undrafted players.

Will that discourage the Cowboys and other teams from signing players? Not really. What teams did last year to get by that rule was to guarantee a small portion of the player’s base salary so it would not count toward the $75,000 limit.

Last year the largest signing bonus the Cowboys gave was to offensive lineman Jose Acuna ($6,500). Wide receiver Lyle Leong received $6,000 to sign.

The four undrafted free agents who made the 53-man roster -- Kevin Kowalski, Dan Bailey, Alex Albright and Phillip Tanner -- combined to make $10,500 in signing bonus money. Bailey had a signing bonus of $2,500.