There’s no question Doug Free’s play grade doesn’t match his pay grade.
How much smaller that pay grade gets, however, will depend in large part on the draft.
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones admitted as much during yesterday’s press conference, saying players chosen this week will have a huge impact on Free’s future.
“I think it’s notable that we haven’t said where we are and he hasn’t said where he is relative to his status as we go into this draft,” Jones said, via Jon Machota of the Dallas Morning News. “That’s by design and certainly we wanted to see how and what we do in the draft.
“We were talking about it as late as this morning. If you draft a tackle, how does that impact a player like Doug, whether or not you move him around? I’m sure he’s looking at it there as well.”
Free was a mess last year, and finished the season splitting time at right tackle with Jeremy Parnell. And with a $7 million salary that they’d like to reduce, it’s clear they’re leaning on him.
With several veteran tackles on the market, and a draft full of players in front of them, it’s obvious the Cowboys are in a position to ask him to take less.