Some Cowboys random thoughts

July, 18, 2011
7/18/11
9:30
AM ET
The lockout appears to be coming to an end and we have some thoughts about it.

1. If the salary cap is $120 million, it means the Cowboys are about $18 million over and that's not good. The biggest player they must sign of all their free agents is left tackle Doug Free. What do you pay Free? The Cowboys didn't franchise him prior to the lockout, and it's not determined if they will get a chance to do it once the new CBA is concluded. Free could command $10 million on the market -- that's what his franchise salary is projected to be in 2011. Is Free worth that?

2. The best thing we heard from DeMarcus Ware the other day when he talked on 103.3 FM is he's willing to restructure his contract. "I'm down with it," he said. What this means is Ware could take some of his base salary -- $6.7 million in 2011 -- and turn that into signing bonus money to lower his cap number. Tony Romo could do the same thing with his base salary of $9 million. Of course, it remains to be seen if the Cowboys will do any of this. It seems like they might to get under the cap.

3. If the Cowboys release Marion Barber, and indications are they will, it would be interesting to see how Felix Jones handles the starting running back role. He hasn't been a full-time starter since high school, and shared the role in college, and who knows how he'll handle things. The Cowboys should open up the running back job between Tashard Choice and Jones. Let the best man win. And if it's Jones, so be it.

4. You get a strong feeling the Cowboys won't go to San Antonio for training camp if this lockout continues. If the owners and players agree later this week on a new labor deal, there are still some legal issues in the court system that must be settled and that could take another week. So in reality, we might be two weeks away from opening training camp.

5. When you begin to read some of the new rules that will be in place for teams concerning practices, you wonder if Jason Garrett is just wishing he was in charge last year. The second practice of a two-a-day most likely will be held in shorts and T-shirts. Garrett wants his team to practice hard and be physical. He might not get a chance to do that a whole lot in 2011.
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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