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Cowboys lose RT to retirement; 2 holes on OL ?


Ergo Proxy
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http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/cowboys-starting-right-tackle-reportedly-decides-to-retire-after-10-seasons/

Cowboys starting right tackle reportedly decides to retire after 10 seasons

Doug Free has decided to hang up his cleats

The Cowboys might need to call an audible on their plans for free agency, because all of the sudden, they have a gaping hole on their offensive line that they’re going to need to fill. 

According to ESPN.com, starting right tackle Doug Free has decided to retire. The 10-year veteran had been a mainstay on the Cowboys’ offensive line since becoming a full-time starter in 2010. In the seven seasons since then, Free started in 107 of the 112 regular season games that the Cowboys played over that span. 

Although Free was widely viewed as the weak link on the Cowboys’ offensive line over the past few years -- Pro Football Focus gave him the lowest grade of any Cowboys linemen in 2016 -- that was more a product of how good the line was than how poorly Free was playing. 

Replacing a long-time starter is never easy, and it definitely won’t be in this situation, especially because the Cowboys weren’t even aware of Free’s possible retirement going into March. 

When asked about Free on March 1, Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said he was unaware of any retirement rumors. 

“I do not know of any talk of retirement in regard to Doug Free,” Garrett said, via the team’s official website

On the same day, Cowboys owner Jerry Jones even added that the team had already penned Free in as the starting right tackle in 2017. 

“Our projection is Doug is going to come back, and he’s our starting right tackle,” Jones said, via Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “Obviously if we don’t get [Ronald] Leary re-signed, which will be difficult, then we see La’el [Collins] as our starting guard.”

The problem for the Cowboys is that not only did they lose Leary (to the Broncos), but they might not be able to use La’el Collins to guard. Due to Free’s retirement, the Cowboys might need to move Collins to right tackle, which would then leave a hole at left guard. Collins played tackle in college at LSU, so that move could make sense. 

The Cowboys also have 2015 third-round pick Chaz Green, but he’s only played in a total of four games over the past two seasons due to various injuries. To fill their open spot on the line, the Cowboys might have to use a draft pick or break out the checkbook for someone in free agency. 

The good news for the Cowboys is that Free’s retirement will save them $5 million against the salary cap. Free ended up being a bargain for the Cowboys. After being selected in the fourth round of the 2007 NFL Draft, the lineman went on to play in a total of 124 games (with 114 starts) over 10 seasons. 

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I wonder how this affects their first round and how many teams really might seriously consider starting a run of OL in the bottom-half of round 1? If that happens do the Falcons take best OL remaining at 31 or DE/other pick and grab best remaining OL in round 2 instead?

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They have some solid depth. People need to realize Leary wasn't a starter for them. He only played bc La'el Collins was hurt this past year. They also draft Chaz Green in the third round a couple years ago. They also signed johnathan Cooper, who is a better fit in the zbs, for depth. 

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So, Peter Konz and Sam Baker stepping in for Cowboys next year as starters?:munch:

8 minutes ago, Malachore said:

They have relacements on the team with Collins and Green. Health is what's been holding them back though.

Eh, okay I suppose they might still look for a tackle. If they really were projecting their RT returning and having injury concerns with their replacements.

Just now, rbrick28 said:

They have some solid depth. People need to realize Leary wasn't a starter for them. He only played bc La'el Collins was hurt this past year. They also draft Chaz Green in the third round a couple years ago. They also signed johnathan Cooper, who is a better fit in the zbs, for depth. 

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1 hour ago, falconidae said:

Cowboys are an Oline injury or two from Dak having a sophomore slump.

 

53 minutes ago, raysnill1 said:

Zeke too.

I think it's coming anyway. They may be in line for somewhat of a rude awaking this coming  season.

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