Thursday, July 28, 2011
Cowboys budgeted for at least six free agents
By Tim MacMahon
SAN ANTONIO – The Cowboys have created enough cap space to sign at least six unrestricted free agents, according to executive vice president Stephen Jones.
That group includes the free agents who re-sign with the Cowboys, such as left tackle Doug Free, left guard Kyle Kosier and hopefully defensive end Stephen Bowen. It isn’t likely to include a high-priced Pro Bowler, as Free’s four-year, $32 million deal will probably be the Cowboys’ biggest financial commitment in this hectic free agency period.
The Cowboys intend to address three areas in free agency: offensive line, defensive end and safety. Adding a veteran receiver or cornerback isn’t a priority despite Dallas’ questionable depth at those positions.
Offensive line: The Cowboys have checked off the two biggest items on their list here, keeping Free and Kosier (three years, $9 million), their two best offensive linemen last season. It’s possible that they could add a veteran interior lineman to either compete with Montrae Holland at right guard or serve as insurance behind the guards and Andre Gurode, who is coming off June knee surgery.
Safety: Abram Elam, who played well for Rob Ryan in Cleveland the last two seasons, makes the most sense here. The question is whether the dollars for him are in the range Dallas wants. Stephen Jones hinted strongly that the Cowboys don’t intend to invest big money here, which makes Michael Huff an extreme long shot. Re-signing Gerald Sensabaugh is a possibility, but he wants a big raise. Brodney Pool might be the best fit among the other free agent safeties. Ideally, the Cowboys would sign two starters instead of forcing a young safety into a starting job.
Defensive end: The Cowboys want to keep Bowen. They could potentially upgrade by signing Cullen Jenkins, who had seven sacks for Green Bay last season. They’ve shown some interest in Robaire Smith and Kenyon Coleman, who played for Ryan in Cleveland. Neither Marcus Spears or Jason Hatcher is a priority, but of the two, the Cowboys are higher on Spears. They need to sign at least two defensive ends with Igor Olshansky the only experienced player at this position on the roster.