LOCALS IN THE NFL

Former BYU OL James Empey Earns Guaranteed Six-Figure Deal From Cowboys

May 2, 2022, 4:08 PM
BYU, BYU Football, Arizona Wildcats, James Empey...
Former BYU football center James Empey will play for the Dallas Cowboys. (Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
(Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)

SALT LAKE CITY – Former BYU center James Empey didn’t hear his name called in the 2022 NFL draft, but he was able to sign an undrafted free agent contract that earned him a nice chunk of money.

NBC Sports’ Mike Florio reports that the former four-year starter at BYU signed a guaranteed $110,000 free-agent contract with the Dallas Cowboys. By just signing the contract, Empey earned a $10,000 signing bonus.

$110,000 contract as an Undrafted Free Agent

Florio also reports that Empey was one of 15 undrafted free agents to earn a six-figure guaranteed contract. The highest was former Nevada QB Carson Strong, who signed a $320,000 guaranteed contract with the Philadelphia Eagles.

Finding a role in the NFL as an undrafted free agent can be difficult, but when teams invest money into a prospect, it could enhance the odds of sticking in the league. For example, five years ago, former BYU linebacker/defensive end Harvey Langi signed a $115,000 guaranteed undrafted free agent contract with the New England Patriots. Langi is still in the league and currently with the Pats.

Empey joins a Dallas offensive line room with two centers atop the depth chart in Tyler Biadasz and second-year player Braylon Jones. During his four seasons at BYU, Empey started in 41 games.

Career snapshot for James Empey

Along with talents on the field, Empey was one of the most intelligent players in the BYU program. Empey graduated from BYU with a 3.84 GPA as a finance major and was recognized with National Football Foundation (NFF) Hampshire Honor Membership.

At 6-foot-4, 297-pounds, Empey follows in his father’s footsteps, Mike Empey. After concluding an accomplished career at BYU in the early 90s, the elder Empey also signed an undrafted free agent deal with the Cowboys in 1993.

In March, Empey put up 23 reps in the bench press at BYU’s Pro Day event, ran a 1.89 10-yard split, and had a solid 3-cone run of 7.71 seconds.

The Cowboys begin organized team activities later this month on May 24-25, then June 1-2, and June 9-10 before the mandatory minicamp on June 14-16.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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