Thursday, March 7, 2013
Free-agency series: Offensive tackles
By Tim MacMahon
This is sixth in a 10-part series breaking down the Cowboys' free-agency needs, position by position:
Who’s on the roster: Tyron Smith, Doug Free, Jermey Parnell, Darrion Weems, Aderious Simmons
Analysis: This is a problem spot because Free has been so poor since signing a four-year, $32 million deal to play left tackle. He was moved to the right side last season, becoming the NFL’s highest-paid right tackle, and was so bad that he split time with Parnell late in the season. There have been internal discussions about moving Free to guard, but it’s more likely that he’ll be designated as a post-June 1 cut. Parnell performed relatively well in spot duty, but the Cowboys would be wise to at least acquire a tackle to compete with him if Free is released or moved. Smith, the Cowboys' 2011 first-round pick, should be a fixture at left tackle for years.
NFL free agents of interest: Jake Long, Andre Smith, Sebastian Vollmer, Phil Loadholt, Jermon Bushrod, Sam Baker
Need meter: 8. Offensive tackles don’t come cheap in free agency, and the Cowboys certainly aren’t in position to make high-dollar bids for the top names on the market. Perhaps the Cowboys could try to sign a less expensive tackle, much like they did at guard last offseason with Nate Livings and Mackenzy Bernadeau, but this is a spot Dallas will likely address in the draft.