The Cowboys offensive line is a unit that under-performed in 2012. Fixing it could take an influx of new talent, or the alternative is shifting some guys around.
There was a time, not so long ago, that Doug Free was thought to be a solid piece of the Cowboys offensive line puzzle. That's no longer the case as the beleaguered right tackle has all kinds of questions surrounding him. The Cowboys could cut him and it would be a wash against the salary-cap, or they could designate him a June 1st cut, that would save some money this year but count more against next year.
The other options are to bench him in favor of Jeremy Parnell, or they could try to kick him inside to guard. You have to give Free credit for not laying down last year once he was put into a rotation with Parnell. In fact, it could be said he played his best ball once that happened. But would the cowboys seriously consider moving him to guard? Stephen Jones says it's a possibility.
"I’d never rule out anything," Jones said on Monday. "We’re looking at it. We’re going to un-turn every stone to get better. But I wouldn’t rule him out of tackle either. He’s pretty versatile. He’s smart."
I can't say this idea really appeals. It sounds more like a desperation move to try and re-capture the mojo a player once showed. If Dallas thinks Free can't handle the right tackle spot, they're better served to go ahead and cut ties. The 2013 draft is full of promising offensive linemen, especially at guard.
Broaddus: I honestly don’t like the CONSIDERATION of Doug Free moving to guard for the simple reason that I have always believed that the one thing that affects Tony Romo the most is not when he gets pressure off the edge but when he gets it right in his face. Why did the Cowboys commit free agent dollars in 2012 to try and get bigger inside? So Romo would have the ability to step forward to make his throws. We have all seen Free play and the one thing he struggles with the most is power and the ability to sit down on rushers. His punch tends to be too wide and rushers get inside on him, then carries him to the quarterback. Free might weigh 313 pounds but he really doesn’t play with that kind of strength. This draft will offer them the ability to get bigger and stronger inside with say a player like Larry Warford.
Exactly. It should either be right tackle starter, the bench, or another team for Free. But is there actually another option?
Jones said having Free and Parnell rotate again next year isn’t ideal, but not out of the question. "No one has ever done it, but it doesn’t mean you can’t," Jones said. "I think at some point someone would win the job."
Well, let's hope someone would actually win the job. And play competently.