The tender is worth $3.168 million to Austin, who made the Pro Bowl after catching 81 passes for 1,320 yards and 11 touchdowns in his breakout season. If a team wants to sign Austin, it would have to give up a first- and third-round draft pick.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has said he wants to sign Austin to a long-term contract.
The Cowboys offered 12 of their 13 restricted free agents tenders, with kicker Shaun Suisham being the only player not offered one.
The team placed a second-round tender worth $1.809 million on safety Gerald Sensabaugh and guard Cory Procter. Second-round tenders worth $1.759 million were offered to defensive end Stephen Bowen, wide receiver Sam Hurd and defensive end Jason Hatcher.
Original tender offers worth $1.226 million -- the right of first refusal plus a selection in the round that player was originally drafted -- were extended to defensive end Marcus Spears (first round), safety Pat Watkins (fifth round), defensive tackle Junior Siavii (second round) and offensive lineman Duke Preston (fourth round).
Tackle Pat McQuistan (seventh round) got an original tender offer worth $1.176 million.
Sensabaugh and Watkins combined for 95 tackles and one interception at safety. Spears finished with 25 tackles and 2.5 sacks last season.
Bowen, a trusted backup, finished the 2009 season with 33 quarterback pressures, tied for third on the team with starting nose guard Jay Ratliff. Bowen also had three sacks and 31 tackles.
Hurd led the team with 19 special teams tackles last year. He also had seven receptions for 121 yards and a touchdown.
McQuistan, who missed the first nine games of the 2009 season, participated on special teams.
Also, running back Cletis Gordon signed a one-year contract extension. Terms were not disclosed.