Cowboys to cut their line's leader

Todd Archer of ESPNDallas.com (who's been an absolute animal this week, by the way) is reporting that the Dallas Cowboys plan to cut ties with veteran guard Kyle Kosier:

The move has not been made officially yet. Kosier had started 80 straight games in which he was active since joining the Cowboys as a free agent in 2006. He signed a three-year deal last summer after the lockout ended and started every game.

The move would save the Cowboys $1.55 million in salary cap space and continue the overhaul of the offensive line. Right tackle Doug Free is now the longest-tenured offensive linemen having joined the team in 2007. The second-longest tenured is center Phil Costa, who joined the team as an undrafted free agent in 2010.

Kosier earned a $1 million escalator that would have jumped his base salary in 2012 to $2.25 million.

I'm surprised. I know he's 33 years old and had some injury issues in 2011. And I know they drafted two guards last year and signed two guards this week. And yeah, I know the NFL is a tough, cold business. But whenever I was around the Cowboys the last couple of years, I heard someone tell me how important Kosier was as a leader among the offensive linemen. He got a lot of credit for Free's big year at left tackle when he played next to him at left guard in 2010, and he got a lot of credit for Tyron Smith's very quick transition to the pros at right tackle when he played right guard next to him in 2011.

So while they have a new offensive line coach in Dallas, and they have every right to believe they can find two starting interior linemen from the group that now includes Costa, Bill Nagy, David Arkin, Nate Livings, Mackenzy Bernadeau and Kevin Kowalski, this can't have been an easy decision for the Cowboys. Whoever else was on the line as they slid guys in and out over the past two seasons benefited from the fact that Kosier was there. And while the move seems to make sense from a business and numbers standpoint, Kosier brought something to the table that they can't be sure anyone in the remaining group does. It's something they could, theoretically, end up missing at some point this season.