It appears that a new CBA will be agreed upon next Thursday. At this point, there is very little holding up the deal. Last night, the owners gave in on free agency, finally dropping their insistence to retain right of first refusal on their free agents. Ultimately, this is the most fair way to approach it, but it’s a tough blow for the Cowboys’ front office because it means one thing. Doug Free is an unrestricted free agent.
At the end of last season, Free was a restricted free agent, but it makes you wonder if this was something they should’ve seen coming. That’s probably unfair, but it sure would be nice if we didn’t have to worry about losing Free and an extension would’ve taken care of that. Plus, it’s not like he didn’t deserve it.
Obviously, he had a breakout season last year, but it’s more than that. Free is an extremely rare player in Dallas. He’s the only tackle that the Cowboys have successfully drafted and developed over the last decade. For every Doug Free, there has been at least five Jacob Rogers. But, it goes even further than that. The Cowboys’ inability to draft offensive linemen extends past the tackle position. Free and Gurode are the successful Cowboys o-line draft picks of the last ten years. Think about that. Dallas has gone through an entire decade of making awful decisions when it comes to drafting offensive linemen. It is of no coincidence that the team has been mostly mediocre over that time span. And, now, after they’ve finally seen some success in that area, they face the prospect of losing the player because of a labor dispute. It would be an enormous set back.
If the Cowboys lose Free, it’s starting over at square one. They’ll have to keep Colombo and pray that he stays healthy. With Free and Tyron Smith, the Cowboys finally have a chance to sure up the tackle position for years to come. However, if Free leaves, they’ll have to use duct tape at the position once again. Last year, having to play Alex Barron cost them a win against the Redskins in their first game. They can’t have that again.
One final point — the Cowboys of ’90s had unbelievable talent, but what is often forgotten was their ridiculous offensive line. Those teams controlled the line of scrimmage and that alone saved them in numerous contests. Since the days of Larry Allen, the line has been neglected. They have to get back to dominating games up front.
Disagree of have something to add? As always, we’d love to hear your take.