Doug Free's future secure for now

Updated: March 14, 2013, 3:10 PM ET
By Calvin Watkins | ESPNDallas.com

IRVING, Texas -- Right tackle Doug Free's future with the Dallas Cowboys is secure for now, a source said Thursday.

Free's status has been a topic of speculation this offseason as it has seemed that the lineman would be among the players purged for salary-cap reasons. He is scheduled to count $10.02 million against the cap, but if he is designated as a June 1 cut, the Cowboys would free up $7 million in space.

The Cowboys have very little room to work with during free agency, as the team is roughly only $175,000 under the cap. The Cowboys have decided to part ways with DE Marcus Spears but as a post-June 1 cut, which means they will spread out the cap hit over the next two years. He will count $700,000 against the cap this year and $1.4 million against the cap in 2014.

Free, who has started 48 straight games, struggled in 2013, moving to right tackle with Tyron Smith moving to the left side. He led the Cowboys with 15 penalties (seven holds, eight false starts) and split time later in the season with Jermey Parnell. Free's play improved under the rotation.

Earlier this offseason, executive vice president Stephen Jones said of Free's possible return: "I wouldn't rule Doug out."

Free's status could again become tenuous if the Cowboys believe there's a tackle worthy of selecting in the first two rounds of the draft. If that's the case, Free could be sent packing, and Parnell or the draft pick would become the starter at right tackle.

In other news, Alabama guard Chance Warmack is scheduled to meet with the Cowboys, according to a source.

Warmack, who participated in drills but didn't lift during Alabama's pro day on Wednesday, is projected to go to the Cowboys with the 18th overall pick by both ESPN.com draft experts Mel Kiper and Todd McShay in their latest mock drafts.

"I'm athletic and trying to show what I can bring to the table if anybody wants to draft me," Warmack said in quotes released by Alabama. "I'm really excited to just get on a team and get started with football, but just to show what I can do and show what my strengths are."

Information from ESPNDallas.com's Todd Archer was used in this report.

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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