The Cowboys hope to sign both quarterback Dak Prescott and receiver Amari Cooper to new contracts. If they sign only one, they can use the franchise tag on the other. If they sign neither, they’ve got a little problem.
With only one franchise tag to use each year, a failure to come to terms with Prescott and Cooper would force the Cowboys to tag one, and to take their chances with the other on the open market.
Collectively, this gives the two players plenty of power. They could agree to reject all offers through the deadline for applying the tag, forcing the Cowboys to let one become an unrestricted free agent. The other would then be able to do a long-term deal with the franchise tag as the starting point. (The transition tag wouldn’t be available, because a team may use the franchise tag or the transition tag once per year.)
If a long-term deal for some reason isn’t reached with the tagged player, he could band together with running back Ezekiel Elliott and do it all over again the following year.