Posted: 9:14 a.m. Friday, May 3, 2013
By KD Drummond
It's something that we've all been discussing, pondering, wishing for... Depending on your point of view, one of these probably describes your take on the situation. According to Mike Fisher, Cowboys Insider, Doug Free has decided that he will not take a pay cut to play for the Dallas Cowboys in 2013. Via 105.3 The Fan's twitter account:
Dallas is now officially in the right tackle market.
Free was set to count a little over $10 million against the Cowboys salary cap in 2013. If he is designated as a June 1st cut as the report states, the Cowboys will chop his entire base salary ($7 million) off of the 2013 cap charge. As OCC pointed out earlier, that amount was set to be the highest base salary given to a right tackle in 2013.
That will result in Free taking up around $7 million in dead money on the Cowboys 2014 salary cap, based on the acceleration of his remaining signing bonus. Depending on how you look at it, that could be a bad thing, or it could be taken that it also "frees" up an additional $4 million of cap space next year.
That would completely eliminate Free from the Cowboys books. His projected cap numbers of $11 million in '15 and $9 million in 2016 would then be totatlly erased. Dallas is reportedly around $4.8 million under the '13 cap currently with another $2 million set to be available after Marcus Spears comes off the books as a June 1st cut. That last $2m is earmarked for the '13 rookie class.
Doing the simple math, Dallas could reasonably sign a player for the money made available from Free's departure.
Would that give Dallas the upper hand in negotiations with a potential fit such as Tyson Clabo? Yesterday, Baltimore signed free agent Bryant McKinnie to a two-year deal worth $7m total. The details of signing bonus/base salary have yet to be released.
Dallas could easily offer Clabo a combination of signing bonus and base salary spread out over two-three years to keep their numbers under $4 million for the second year.
The club would be competing with other tackle-needy teams such as the San Diego Chargers and the Miami Dolphins for Clabo's services. Eric Winston, former Kansas City Chief, is also a consideration.
As is current Cowboys Jermey Parnell. Parnell acquitted himself fairly well in platooning with Free towards the end of last year. If Jason Garrett and Bill Callahan really liked what they saw out of him, they could chose to just pocket the savings and roll with Parnell at RT and Tyron Smith at LT. That would leave the Cowboys with only Darrion Weems and two future contracts guys by the name of Charlie Bryant and Aderious Simmons in the fold.
It would however give Dallas the option of chasing one of the cheaper free agents on the market. They could then pocket the money to use later on, in an effort to resign some of their young stars that are eligible for extensions. Stars such as Sean Lee and Dez Bryant.
The Cowboys have been known to make waves on Friday's this offseason. Looks like today might live up to the forecast.