News is just breaking that we will only have a 72 hour period to resign our franchise left tackle Doug Free. I remember when the time came to franchise Free and I felt it may have been more costly, but safer. Well that ship has sailed on us. Hopefully Doug hears an offer he likes from Stephen Jones whenever that 72 hour period starts.
I cannot even fathom the possibility of losing Doug Free, seriously it would be a catastrophic type of loss for this team. What would hurt me even more deep down inside is that this is the first time since Andre Gurode that the Cowboys have drafted an offensive lineman in the draft and worked him into a Pro Bowl franchise caliber offensive lineman.
To even think of losing him will really crush my spirits moving into the new season. So lets take the jump and dive into the issue some.
As OCC mentioned, can you remember the last time a 27 year old franchise left tackle entered the market that was injury free? Yeah neither can I and that is another troubling issue arriving in the Doug Free Watch as I call it. I will be watching the Doug Free Watch carefully whenever the season starts. I do not think we can lose Doug Free, it would be crushing in too many ways.
If you remember the Cowboys had a chance to franchise Doug Free when the season ended back in February. The Cowboys took a different path and placed a first round tender on Free, if he was a restricted free agent. Now it appears as Free indeed will become a UNRESTRICTED free agent. So instead of having the rights to negotiate exclusively with Free, every other team in the NFL will have that right.
Okay we all know we are going to have some cap issues as well if the cap is set at the rumored 120 million dollar mark. I hate to say that, but lets put that aside for a moment. When that 72 hour period starts we need to have every resource in this organization working on an offer to be made presentable to Doug Free. The Right of Refusal appears to be gone and the 72 hour period is all we have now, so we need to jump on it while we can.
Doug Free is the first most priority of this off season in my opinion. Yes we need dire help at the safety position, lord knows I have preached that fable for the past two seasons. But Doug Free is our franchise offensive tackle who can play both spots. Yes I know we drafted Tyron Smith, who is going to be taking over the right tackle position this year. Smith can play left tackle in time, no doubt about that. But I want Free on one side and Smith on the other side. These two paired together give us possibly the best athletic pairing in the NFL and in time maybe the overall pairing of tackles in the NFL as well.
We need to keep these two together, that was what I had imagined when I started the discussion of drafting Tyron Smith 9th overall. If we pair these two guys together, add some better guards, than this offensive line will be right back to one of the better units in the NFL. Now my whole dream scenario can be in jeopardy of that because of the CBA situation and how free agency is going to work.
Now the positive side of me wants to let this be known. Doug Free is a homegrown prospect. We drafted him in the fourth round of the 2007 NFL Draft. We coached him up and developed him along. We finally hit on a really good offensive lineman prospect. We then gave Doug the franchise tackle position last year, we handed him the job and said Doug your our guy, make us proud. Doug Free did make us proud last year, at least me anyways. PFF graded him out as one of the best left tackles in football. So if we lose a guy like that, that we FINALLY hit on in the draft, it will crush me.
Now the positive side of says this as well. Knowing what the Cowboys have done for Doug's career, maybe Doug will say hey man I love playing for the Cowboys. They believed in ME to be their franchise tackle after Flozell Adams, man they truly believed in me. So if Doug really loves being a Dallas Cowboy and loves that the team believes in him, maybe Doug will sit down and say you know what Jerry lets get this deal done because I want to stay here, I want to be a Dallas Cowboy.
It really isn't an unrealistic situation and I pray that is what eventually happens. But the negative side of me looks at what type of money he can get on the market. It is very likely that teams can outbid us for Free's services. If that happens we lose Doug Free and we would have to look at the options out there to replace him. So back of the ledge for a minute. There are some really good tackles out there. We could sign one of those tackles and pair that guy with Tyron Smith and still have one of the better offensive lines in the NFL. If we lose Free there are really solid options out there to replace him with, but what would hurt is losing an offensive lineman that we FINALLY HIT ON IN THE DRAFT. You know what I mean?
So you can look at the scenario from two different perspectives in my opinion. One is the positive where we sign Doug Free back to a long term deal, YAY!!!!!!!!!!!
The other is we lose Doug Free NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
But then we can go out and sign one of the good options that are out there in the offensive tackle market. If we lose Free it will be awful. But at least there are some really good players out there that we could sign and pair with Tyron Smith.
I am sure you are wondering, Hey Chia what do you think is going to happen? In my opinion I think you should keep those #68 Doug Free jerseys because I think Doug Free is going nowhere. I think he loves being a Dallas Cowboy and respects what this franchise has done for him over his career here. We have treated him really good and I think that is going to payoff.
So everyone bite your nails but just back away from the edge for me, I think our boy Doug is going to be a Cowboy for a long time. And when the day comes and it is announced that Doug Free signed a 6-8 year deal worth whatever money we can all breathe reassuring breathes that we have Doug Free and Tyron Smith as our bookend tackles for a very long time.
This has been a ChiaCrack Production