The agreement with Free still appears to be a way off, and there's now one less right tackle available for the Cowboys. Whether this means Free has gained a little leverage with the Cowboys remains to be seen, but with Bryant McKinnie re-signing with the Ravens, and Clabo now heading to Miami, the free agency market for a right tackle is shrinking.
Two names could potentially remain in the mix for the Cowboys: Eric Winston (29) and Winston Justice (28) could be available for around $3 million each, but it's not clear how much the Cowboys view either of the free agents as upgrades over Doug Free (29). The Cowboys have repeatedly and emphatically stated that they want Free to remain with the team, albeit at a reduced salary. But with the market for right tackles beginning to dry up, the Cowboys may not have much of a bargaining position left with Doug Free anymore.
Whether this could ultimately result in Free's outright release is anybody's guess. But for a team that just spent significant money on Romo's contract extension, invested this year's first round pick in an offensive lineman to give Romo "an extra half second" and spent even more picks to give Romo and the offense extra weapons, opening the season without a right tackle does not feel like a great solution.
Ultimately, this probably means we can expect Doug Free to remain the right tackle in Dallas, and the two sides are simply haggling over the price. And whether that is really a "solution" is an entirely different discussion.