It has been the thorn in the side of the Dallas Cowboys off-season. What will become of the under-performing offensive tackle, Doug Free. One of two endings was expected. Either Free would accept a pay cut or Dallas would release him on June 1st. Now, we have the answer.
According to ESPN’s Ed Werder, an undisclosed source has confirmed that Free has agreed to take a pay cut. He will make $3.5 million in each of the next two seasons. Free was scheduled to make $7 million this season, an amount deemed unacceptable by the Cowboys for the most penalized offensive lineman in the NFL last season.
The deal comes just days before the start of OTA’s, and that’s no coincidence. If Free was injured during these practices, Dallas would have been on the hook for all $7 million this season.
The move “frees” up 3.5 million in much needed cap space for the Cowboys. Some of that will go to newly signed free agent defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove. I’d also expect Dallas to be actively searching for more available talent after June 1st cuts.
Despite Free’s decision to stay, the Cowboys have holes to fill on both their offensive and defensive lines. The defensive backfield, specifically at safety, could also benefit from a veteran presence.
It is unknown what role Free will play on the team. As of now, he appears to still be the starting right tackle. We’ll have to wait and see what moves the Cowboys make in free agency before we know for sure.