As per ESPN's Adam Schefter, the Cowboys, who were reportedly engaged in a "dogfight" with the Tampa Bay Bucs for the services of Dallas free agent tackle Doug Free, have secured Free's services. The parties have agreed on a 4-year, 32 million dollar contract, with 17 million in guaranteed money. The contract works well for both parties: the Cowboys get a top left tackle for eight milllion per; Free gets to hit free agency again when he's 30, ensuring him another big payday.
Inking Free fills what would have been a huge hole on the offensive line. The Cowboys starting left guard in 2010, Kyle Kosier, is a free agent and they released last year's starting right guard, Leonard Davis earlier in the day. Sans Free, Dallas could conceivably have had four new starters on the offensive line in 2011, with the lone holdover being center Andre Gurode. For a unit that depends on cohesion and time together, the results could have been disastrous.
With the signing, the Cowboys have what every team desires (and what Tampa Bay was looking for): young, bookend tackles to protect their star quarterback for the foreseeable future.