Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said there would be change coming after a disappointing 8-8 season.
One of those changes could be replacing right tackle Doug Free. At one point in life, the contract that Free signed was seen as a bargain, given that he was playing left tackle and those guys are usually the most valuable player on offense behind the quarterback, but now it’s a liability.
Unfortunately for Free, the Cowboys drafted Tyron Smith to protect quarterback Tony Romo’s blind side. So, during the 2012 offseason the Cowboys switched Smith and Free, where Free would play on the right side of the line, and Smith on the left.
That didn’t turn out very well for the Cowboys or Free.
I think the Cowboys will rid themselves of Free and his contract this offseason, but knowing Jones he might hang on to him, like he does most underachieving talent in Dallas.
Should the Cowboys rid themselves of Free, and even if they don’t, they need to be looking for offensive line help either in free agency or in the draft. I’ve been saying for years that the Cowboys need to shore up the offensive line, and they can start in the 2013 draft.
One player that I like is offensive tackle Jake Matthews out of Texas A&M. At 6’5” 305 pounds, he’s got the size, and he’s athletic enough to play left tackle, but scouts think Matthews is better suited to be a right tackle at the pro level. He has long arms, which he uses to keep defenders away in pass-protection, but has struggled against speed rushers.
Matthews shines as a run blocker and that should make all Cowboys’ fans happy, especially after the Cowboys turned in their worst rushing performance in franchise history. Scouts have raved about Matthews’ explosiveness off the line and his ability to drive defenders out of the way. Not going to lie, the offensive line could benefit from some explosiveness and nastiness to it.
He’s currently projected to be a mid-to-late first round selection, but that could change if teams value him as a possible left tackle.