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Monday, February 28, 2011
Cowboys in process of offering contracts

By Calvin Watkins

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Cowboys are expected to tender some contracts to their restricted free agents this week maybe as soon as today.

The uncertainty of the collective bargaining agreement has some teams, including the Cowboys, trying to figure out if some free agents are restricted or unrestricted.

Left tackle Doug Free, defensive end Stephen Bowen, defensive end Jason Hatcher, wide receiver Sam Hurd and linebacker Leon Williams would be restricted free agents if the 2010 season CBA rules remain in place.

But under the old rules of the CBA these players would be unrestricted.

The Cowboys are expected to tender Free, Bowen, Hatcher, Hurd and Williams.

This would protect the Cowboys from offering long-term deals to players such as Free and Bowen who played well last year. Free could have been franchised which would have cost the Cowboys more than $10 million, but it was hard to give him this deal after only one year as the fulltime starter at left tackle.

Hurd and Hatcher want to test the free agent market to see if they can play fulltime with another team.

Most of the tenders for most of these players would be second round which is close to $2 million in salary. Last year's second-round tenders were $1.759 million and that figure might go up.

Free might get the highest tender, a first round or possiblly a first-and-third round, which is around $3 million.

Safety Alan Ball will most likely get a right-of-first-refusal tender, cornerback Bryan McCann and wide receiver Jesse Holley are exclusive rights free agents.

Here are the free agents: Alan Ball, Alex Barron, Stephen Bowen, Doug Free, Chris Greisen, Jason Hatcher, Jesse Holley, Sam Hurd, Kyle Kosier, Bryan McCann, Gerald Sensabaugh, Marcus Spears and Leon Williams.