• Home
  • Top 5 Franchise Tags: Dallas Cowboys

Category: Dallas Cowboys

Share & Comment:

Top 5 Franchise Tags: Dallas Cowboys

The NFL is a business and when contract negotiations take place, sometimes the NFL team opts to delay negotiations past the deadline by using the “franchise tag.” This one-year deal is a placeholder for either an upcoming long-term extension or it gives the team more time to evaluate that player before committing long-term.

The Dallas Cowboys have used this franchise tag luxury for 6 consecutive seasons. DeMarcus Lawrence (twice), Dak Prescott (twice), Dalton Schultz and Tony Pollard have all been franchised by the Cowboys since 2018.

As you can tell from that list, the Cowboys inevitably retained DeMarcus Lawrence and Dak Prescott with long-term deals but ultimately decided to let Schultz walk to the Texans in free agency last year.

The same fate might fall on Tony Pollard this year. But who are the best Cowboys franchise tag players in the team’s history? Let’s recap the 11 tags in a top 5 list.

Dalton Schultz (2022)

Schultz is the only tight end in Cowboys history to receive the franchise tag. With an organization that had the likes of Jason Witten, Jay Novacek, and Billy Joe DuPree, Schultz had big shoes to fill. He didn’t necessarily do bad for the Cowboys in his franchise tag year. He caught 57 of 89 targets for 577 yards and 5 touchdowns. Schultz missed a couple of games in 2022 but the reason for his departure was more about spending money elsewhere and the confidence in the uprising Jake Ferguson.

Anthony Spencer (2012)

Spencer had two franchise tag years in 2012 and 2013. His 2013 campaign was injury-ridden and inevitably meant the Cowboys would move on from Spencer’s services. But his 2012 campaign was historic. Playing for $8.8 million, Spencer compiled a career-high 11 sacks and 94 tackles. Spencer would make the Pro Bowl and force Dallas to use the franchise tag on him in 2013, which ended up being an injury-plagued season. Spencer was invaluable that year, especially opposite side of Pro Football Hall of Famer DeMarcus Ware.

Flozell Adams (2002)

Trivia time! Who is the first Dallas Cowboy to receive the franchise tag? A former 2nd-round pick in 1998 who went on to spend a total of 12 seasons with the organization. He is offensive tackle Flozell Adams. Utilizing the tag for the first time in Cowboys history allowed the team to retain a steady, consistent piece on the offensive line. Flozell would start 194 of his 198 games with a Star on his helmet and only missed 14 games over those 12 years. Oftentimes, Flozell Adams is overlooked because of the Cowboys success with offensive linemen (Larry Allen, Zack Martin, Tyron Smith, Nate Newton, etc.)

DeMarcus Lawrence (2018/19)

DeMarcus Lawrence is one of the team leaders on defense and remains underrated based on what he contributes to this team. Lawrence played on his franchise tag and compiled 10.5 sacks in 2018 for his second Pro Bowl campaign, despite a shoulder injury. He would technically be franchised again in 2019 but this was only to allow time for the organization to come to terms on a $105 million deal, a team-record deal at the time for defensive players.

Since, Lawrence has been one of the anchors and the Dallas defense would have looked very differently without retaining Lawrence not only in 2018, but every year since.

Dak Prescott (2020/21)

Are you surprised? The franchise quarterback is the best franchise tag in Cowboys history. Prescott only played 5 games on his franchise tag. Dak had a 99.6 passer rating, 9 touchdowns, 4 interceptions, 68% completion percentage, and a career-high 371.2 YPG. Prescott was balling before he suffered a gruesome ankle injury in Week 5. But this was enough to make up Jerry’s mind: he wasn’t letting Prescott go.

At the end of the season, the Cowboys placed a franchise tag on Dak Prescott again to allow more negotiation time. Dak would sign a 4-year, $160 million deal with the added caveat – the Cowboys can not franchise tag Dak Prescott again.

With two franchise tags and his stellar 5-game performance under one of those, Dak Prescott changed contract language history. And now when his contract does expire, it’s sign or walk.

The franchise tag opens Tuesday for organizations to keep certain free agents on a 1-year deal. Who do you think is the most impactful Cowboys franchise tag in history? Do you expect Dallas to use this franchise tag this year, and on whom? Let us know in the comment section below.


Sign up below for the latest news, stories and podcasts from our affiliates

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.