The Dallas Cowboys reportedly heard back from Doug Free early Friday morning and he’s apparently decided that he won’t take a pay cut, but will instead become a post-June 1 roster cut and become a free agent.
— 105.3 The FAN (@1053thefan) May 3, 2013
Now the Cowboys can focus on signing a right tackle in free agency, although the best options that are still affordable for Dallas is pretty slim at this point. Free’s decision means Dallas will have $7 million in cap space to use in free agency for the reminder of the offseason. Tyson Clabo and Eric Winston are the top two free agent offensive tackles left on the market in the Cowboys’ price range after Bryant McKinnie re-signed with the Baltimore Ravens on Thursday.
What the Cowboys absolutely cannot do is sit tight and hope for the best. Sure, Jeremy Parnell wasn’t terrible toward the end of the 2012 NFL season when he split time with Free, but if Dallas is expecting him to be the full-time starter protecting Tony Romo in this new two-tight end offense, the Cowboys have another thing coming.
Free’s decision also gives Dallas an extra $4 million in cap space for 2014, which is critical considering all the contract restructuring Jerry Jones did this offseason to get under the cap. Of course, the Cowboys should have just offered Free an ultimatum with a pay cut and forced him to make a decision on the spot, but it’s too late for that now; the Cowboys can’t get that month back that was virtually wasted.
Oh well, now Free is for sure out of the picture and the Cowboys can move on. Now it just remains to be seen what they do now that they have cap room and a roster spot “freed” up.