It was only a year ago the Dallas Cowboys were contemplating cutting RT Doug Free altogether. After establishing himself as one of the very best in the league in 2010, Doug Free’s effort and production fell off a cliff. He ranked as one of the worst right tackles in the league in 2011 and 2012. Last offseason Doug Free was facing the very realistic chance of being cut from the only team he knew.
Last offseason the highest paid right tackle in the NFL was politely asked to take a paycut. Scheduled to make $7M in 2013 Doug Free agreed to convert the salary to guaranteed money over the next two seasons. He was able lock in at $3.5M over the next two years (again – guaranteed) and give himself an opportunity to reprove himself in the league.
In 2013 the plan worked out for the Dallas Cowboys and for Doug Free. Free upped his effort (which was clearly lacking his previous two seasons) and improved his play. The 29 year old still seemed to have lost a step but he was no longer the liability he once was. 2014 will be an even bigger season for Doug Free. 2014 is the last year of guaranteed money and his base salary rockets to $8M in both 2015 and 2016. Needless to say those $8M years probably ain’t happening.
So 2014 looks like it’s Doug Free’s last season with the Dallas Cowboys. He’s basically a free agent after this – he knows it and the Cowboys know it. Sure it’s possible they could work out a new deal but that’s not very likely. Free is 30 and the Cowboys have been aggressively working to get young. Free will play very motivated in 2014 as a result. And that’s good news for the Dallas Cowboys.
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