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2020 NFL free agency: Dak Prescott, Derrick Henry among franchise players

Designating quarterback Prescott leaves Dallas vulnerable to losing star receiver Amari Cooper, while Ryan Tannehill's deal makes Henry an easy choice.
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The sports world has gone dark during the world health emergency, but the NFL's new league year is moving forward as planned, with most deals able to be done remotely or in small private meetings.

The league year officially starts with the opening of the 2020 free agency signing period Thursday, but teams are able to begin negotiating with free agents after Monday's noon deadline to apply franchise tags.

Teams ramped up their decision-making over the weekend, with multiple notable names designated as franchise or transition players, led by Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry.

Some other players who had received franchise tags reported earlier include defensive ends Chris Jones of the Kansas City Chiefs and the Jacksonville Jaguars' Yannick Ngakoue, Cincinnati Bengals receiver A.J. Green and Denver Broncos safety Justin Simmons.

The new Collective Bargaining Agreement was ratified after voting closed Saturday, and it limits each team to one franchise or transition tag. This is a big obstacle for teams like Dallas and Tennessee that have multiple players they desperately want to keep.

The Cowboys now run the risk of losing star receiver Amari Cooper, who is a key weapon for Prescott.

Cooper struggled with injuries in several games but had 79 receptions for 1,189 yards and eight touchdowns last season. Prescott threw for 4,902 yards and 30 TDs.

Dallas had hoped to reach a long-term deal with Prescott to avoid this scenario but was unable to before the deadline. The 26-year-old will make an estimated $31.5 million under the franchise tag.

The Titans' decision on Henry was made easier when quarterback Ryan Tannehill signed a four-year contract. The team does still face the possibility of losing former All-Pro right tackle Jack Conklin.

Other notables tagged as franchise players include linebackers Matt Judon of the Baltimore Ravens and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' Shaquil Barrett, as well as Minnesota Vikings safety Anthony Harris.

Barrett led the NFL in sacks with 19.5 in his first season with the Bucs on a one-year, $4 million deal. He will be guaranteed almost $16 million in the upcoming season under the franchise tag.

Judon had a career-high 9.5 sacks and 33 quarterback hits in 2019 and also will make the projected $15.8 million salary as a franchise linebacker.

The Arizona Cardinals put a transition tag on Kenyan Drake, which was a surprise with running back David Johnson having signed a three-year extension before the 2018 season.

Arizona then dealt Johnson to the Houston Texans for elite receiver DeAndre Hopkins.

Drake sparked the Cardinals after being acquired from the Dolphins during the season,
rushing for 643 yards and eight TDs in eight starts 

As the NFL offseason plays out, and the signings and the 2020 NFL Draft impact the NFL odds, check back here for updates and analysis, 

SportsLine Staff