If putting the best possible product on the field next season were the sole focus on this offseason, Flozell Adams would have been given a chance to fight for his job.
Jerry Jones just couldn’t resist the financial temptation to let Flo go, a move that saved $7.5 million.
So Tony Romo’s blind side will be protected by a player who has never started an NFL game at left tackle, barring a bad set of circumstances that forces Leonard Davis to move to left tackle. It appears to be Doug Free’s job, unless he gets beat out by a rookie.
Too bad. A Free vs. Flo training camp competition would have been fun. Adams’ best work always came in contract years. How well would he have performed with his job at stake on a daily basis?
Free, who performed well while filling in for Marc Colombo at right tackle last season, has definitely earned the right to compete for a starting job. Adams apparently didn’t earn the right to compete to keep his job with a dozen years as a starter at the second most important position on offense.
Not that anybody should feel sorry for Flo, a five-time Pro Bowler who had some mail-in efforts over the years. He made enough money as a Cowboy for generations of grumpy giants to be financially secure.
It’s just difficult to see how the Cowboys are better off without Adams on the roster, even though he’ll turn 35 soon. For the first time since the ‘90s glory days, there could have been depth at offensive tackle in Dallas. A front office that fancies itself in charge of a Super Bowl contender wasn’t willing to pay a premium price for that luxury.
For all his flaws – and that includes a lot of yellow flags – you won’t find anybody with much football sense who will argue that Adams wasn’t at least adequate at left tackle last season. Doubters can try to come up with a dozen left tackles they’d rather have protecting Romo and creating running room for the Cowboys’ running backs.
Adams was overpaid, but he was still pretty good. In fact, the Cowboys hope that Free can fill Adams’ shoes next season.
“If we could have a season like that out of him this year, it would be great,” Jerry said when asked about Flo at the scouting combine in February. “I was very pleased with his season. Certainly that’s the question mark. That’s when you have decision to make right there – can you get another year like that out of him?”
The Cowboys weren’t willing to pay $7.5 million to find out.