Cowboys OT Doug Free To Retire

Right tackle Doug Free has informed the Cowboys he plans to retire, according to Todd Archer of ESPN.com. Chatter had arisen in recent weeks regarding Free’s status, and although multiple reports denied Free would hang up his cleats, the veteran lineman ultimately decided to call it a career."<strong

For Dallas, the loss of Free is a blow to its league-best offensive line, a group that had already seen the defection of top backup Ronald Leary earlier this week. While Free was probably the link weak link along the Cowboys’ front five, he was still a starting-caliber player (No. 40 offensive tackle in 2016 per Pro Football Focus), and the club will now have to assess its options as it seeks to replace him.

Internally, the Cowboys’ top option is Chaz Green, a 2015 third-round pick who played 151 snaps last season. If Dallas isn’t ready to hand over right tackle to Green, it could venture into the free agent market, where options such as Austin Pasztor, Sebastian Vollmer, and Andre Smith still reside. Adding a tackle through the 2017 draft is another possibility, with Wisconsin’s Ryan Ramczyk, Alabama’s Cam Robinson, and Utah’s Garett Bolles in the mix as first-round picks.

Alternatively, the Cowboys could consider moving incumbent left guard La’el Collins to right tackle and bringing in another guard. Collins played left tackle in college so he could probably handle the right side, and his versatility will likely play a role in Dallas’ decision. The Cowboys knew Free was retiring before the beginning of free agency, tweets Archer, so the decision not push harder for a Leary return was unrelated.

Originally a left tackle, Free shifted to the right side after Dallas drafted Tyron Smith in 2011. The Northern Illinois alum had undergone foot surgery in each of the past two offseasons. The Cowboys will pick up $5MM in cap space thanks to Free’s retirement, and while they could conceivably recoup $2.5MM in signing bonus money, the club probably won’t ask Free to give that total back.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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27 comments on “Cowboys OT Doug Free To Retire

  1. GeauxRangers

    Green played well last season but unfortunately he can’t stay healthy. At least we have some flexibility in that Collins or Martin can probably play tackle if need be

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  2. sam1897

    Really, you couldn’t have made your decision last week before free agency started. Airhead

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    • “The Cowboys knew Free was retiring before the beginning of free agency, tweets Archer, so the decision not push harder for a Leary return was unrelated.”

      reading is fundamental

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      • sam1897

        Name say it all, LAME. Hey Jacka s s, his cap money doesn’t become available for the Cowboys too use until he retires. Hey moron, you mean to tell me that he couldn’t retire one week earlier. He just wanted the screw the Cowboys one last time. LMOA

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        • i dont know, im not him so i dont know what he could or couldnt have done. but i do know that i wish you had the balls to do all that talking in person so i could rearrange your face for you :)

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  3. Breezy

    Congrats on bringing this to light after Leary already signs.

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    • “The Cowboys knew Free was retiring before the beginning of free agency, tweets Archer, so the decision not push harder for a Leary return was unrelated.”

      reading is fundamental

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      • Breezy

        Highly doubt it. It was said that he was thinking about it, but never said for sure he was retiring. They know Chaz Green isn’t capable of being the everyday starter right now.

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          • Breezy

            Well that, and the fact it was the topic of discussion in the Dallas sports news a month ago.

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          • a month ago? yet you are whining about dallas not knowing? and they were discussing it more than a month ago? durrrrr

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  4. WoolCorp

    Why would he announce this now? Why not a week ago when Leary could be retained to play guard and Collins could slide to tackle?

    One final bonehead play by Doug. Good riddance.

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    • “The Cowboys knew Free was retiring before the beginning of free agency, tweets Archer, so the decision not push harder for a Leary return was unrelated.”

      reading is fundamental

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      • Mikel Grady

        ESPN’s Adam Schefter and Todd Archer reported the Cowboys will be releasing Romo on Thursday. Archer added it’s not known “whether the Cowboys will outright release him or designate him as a post-June 1 cut.”

        Well Archer Romo get released Thursday ?

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        • no, romo did not get released thursday. cowboys said they were going to, then didnt, because they still want to see if they can trade him

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          • Mikel Grady

            So archer was wrong . All these guys try to beat to punch and are wrong. Football needs a Ken rosenthal that players agents and owners trust to give correct info

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  5. Kyle Packard

    He played college ball at Northern Illinois, not Boston College. That being said, was fun watching him play at both levels, hope he has a great retirement.

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  6. BWA214

    In all fairness to all saying to read the article, those details of Archer saying the cowboys knew beforehand was not published when the article was first posted. As the cap situation was not explained yet either.

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    • Breezy

      Not to mention it’s just BS hearsay from Archer. He doesn’t know for sure. He was also on the wagon that hinted at the 3 team trade involving Romo to Washington.

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  7. Steve

    Dallas Robinson or Pro Football Rumours.com: Doug Free is from Northern Illinois — he is NOT a Boston College alum.

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  8. Scott2

    Making the decision to retire is difficult. Initally Free might have felt he could play another season but then the damage he already suffered to his body could have changed his mind. These are not decision you make lightly and I don’t think one week would have presented the Cowboys with the opportunity to find that perfect all pro replacement in free agency that was out there ready to be pick up.

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