We've all seen the stories about Steven Jones saying right after the draft that Dallas wants Doug Free on the team, but not at the salary they signed him for a couple years ago.
What I don't understand is why Dallas thinks asking Free to take a pay cut could possibly work.
If Free doesn't take a pay cut, he knows he'll be a June 1 cap casualty.
However, he also knows that he won't be cut unless there's a replacement on the roster. Jeremy Parnell can't really be the replacement because then the Cowboys will have no swing tackle for game days. If you think Parnell is green, there is nothing behind him. Cowboys can't afford to be that thin.
So, that would suggest the Cowboys should just go out and sign a new, better, right tackle like Tyson Clabo. With Clabo in house, Free can be cut.
Yet the Cowboys aren't out there trying to sign Tyson Clabo. Haven't brought him in. No apparent plans to bring him in. Clabo might sign with the Dolphins, or any other team that wants him.
And once Clabo signs elsewhere, then who are the Cowboys going to threaten Doug Free with? Eric Winston? Is he much of an upgrade?
1. Cowboys sign a new right tackle and cut Doug Free, or
2. Cowboys don't sign a new right tackle, in which case they can't really afford to cut Doug Free.
Neither of these options include Doug Free voluntarily taking a pay cut. If the Cowboys wait until the Free alternatives are off the market, they will lose all leverage with Doug. And if they act beforehand, they won't need leverage; they will just dump Free to save money.
Theoretically, the Cowboys would have leverage over Free with other tackles off the market, because they would still be offering him a decent chunk of money, even as a pay cut, while few other teams are likely to even be interested in his services. But, because there's no decent backup even if Parnell is made a starter, Free could just call Dallas's bluff, knowing they don't have any reasonable alternatives left.
I just wish the front office would sign Clabo and end this charade.