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Cowboys give Austin big tender offer

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IRVING, Texas (AP)

The Dallas Cowboys gave restricted free agent Miles Austin the highest possible tender offer Thursday, requiring any team that signs the Pro Bowl receiver to give up a first- and third-round pick as compensation.

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The move, which was expected, likely means Austin will return to Dallas next season. He's essentially been offered a one-year deal for $3.168 million, but team owner Jerry Jones has said he'll consider giving Austin a longer, more lucrative contract.

The Cowboys made tender offers to 11 of their restricted free agents and signed another to a one-year deal. The only player left out: kicker Shaun Suisham, who struggled after replacing Nick Folk late in the season.

The only other restricted free agent Dallas gave a first-round tender offer was defensive tackle Marcus Spears. However, his was at the "original draft choice" level, which is for less salary and a second-round compensation if he signs elsewhere.

Six players received second-round tenders: safety Gerald Sensabaugh, defensive ends Stephen Bowen and Jason Hatcher, nose tackle Junior Siavii, receiver Sam Hurd and center Cory Procter.

The rest of the tenders were to center Duke Preston (fourth round), safety Pat Watkins (fifth) and offensive tackle Pat McQuistan (seventh). Those three, and Siavii, were all tendered at the "original draft choice" level.

Cornerback Cletis Gordon wasn't tendered, but re-signed for one year.

Dallas also has two exclusive rights free agents (defensive back Alan Ball and linebacker Steve Octavien).

The club's only unrestricted free agent is guard Montrae Holland.
Tagged: Cowboys, Junior Siavii, Pat McQuistan, Patrick Watkins, Miles Austin

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