It appears Miles Austin is using the only negotiating leverage he has to try to secure a big money, long term deal this offseason. Since Miles Austin was tendered by the Cowboys there hasn't been a any public interest in him. And that makes sense considering the other receivers who are also available this offseason. The timing for Miles Austin's breakout season couldn't have been worse for him financially. In a normal year he would have become an unrestricted free agent and would have probably been given the franchise tag by the Cowboys which would have guaranteed him about $10 million next season.
So now he has to try to get a long term deal worked out with the team or he will make about $3.168 million next season. That is not chump change...at least not to a regular guy like me. But when you are talking about a player with possibly only one or two chances to secure a big money deal in his career you definitely understand why Miles is looking for a long term commitment. What if he gets hurt this season? The scary part of being an NFL player is that you are always one play away from a career ending injury. So you have to strike while the iron is hot in terms of a contract.
And all of the people running around talking about Miles Austin becoming a diva receiver clearly have no idea what they are talking about. Everyone who truly follows the Cowboys either as a fan or in the media knows that Miles Austin is no diva. He loves football and he is a team player. Staying away from the voluntary offseason workouts isn't a sign that one big season has gone to his head. He is still the same guy. He just has to make sure that he gets the money he deserves. Unfortunately for him the Cowboys hold nearly all the cards in the negotiations. So he is exercising the only leverage he has.
While I understand his reasoning, I also am anxious to see Miles and all of the rest of the RFA's back with the team participating in the offseason workouts. Tony Romo talked to ESPN over the weekend and seemed to hint that Miles would be back with the team sooner than later.
I'm hoping that once the RFA deadline hits on Thursday then Miles will come back to work out with the team. At that point he has the choice to play for the Cowboys or not play football at all next season. He can stay away until the June minicamps if he chooses, but I don't think that will happen. I think he is making a statement right now to Jerry Jones and the Cowboys that he wants a long term commitment. I think everyone already realizes how important he is to the hopes of the team next season. We all saw how the offense transformed after he established himself as the top receiver.
I think Jerry Jones, Stephen Jones, Miles Austin and his agent all need to sit down and have a chat. The Cowboys have a history of paying to keep their own players. It needs to be made clear that Miles will get paid as soon as he gets off to a good start this season. In the meantime he can sign his injury waiver and his RFA tender offer that will guarantee him more money this year than he has received in his entire career up to this point.
At this point I think we all want to see Miles back with his teammates. Jerry Jones will play Miles what he is worth and probably even a little more as long as Miles is patient. I'm feeling confident that he won't get any bites in the RFA market in the next three days so now he just needs to get to Valley Ranch and get to work. Workouts in California are good, but he needs to get back to Texas with his teammates.