Cowboys mum on lineman Free as draft approaches

Posted Monday, Apr. 22, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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The Dallas Cowboys are keeping a lid on their plans for right tackle Doug Free until after the draft, owner Jerry Jones acknowledged Monday at Valley Ranch.

“I think it’s just notable that we haven’t said where we are and he hasn’t said where he is relative to his status, as we go into this draft. That’s by design, and certainly we wanted to see how and what we do in the draft,” Jones said.

The Cowboys could be thinking about releasing the veteran tackle on June 1, when they could spread the cap hit over two years. Or they could negotiate a lower salary to keep him on the team in 2013.

But the draft gives the Cowboys a chance to add a tackle in the first round, although there are plenty more available in the lower rounds.

“Talking about it as late as this morning, if you draft tackle — how does that impact a player like Doug or one like him, whether or not you move him around?” Jones said. “I’m sure he’s looking at it there as well.”

Run improvement

Cowboys coach Jason Garrett said the draft is one way the team could improve its running game, the second-worst in the league last year.

“Running the football is something we have to do better, there is no question about that, so we will try to do that a lot of different ways — how we coach the run game, how our players execute the run game,” Garrett said. “Certainly adding players is a big part of that.”

But Garrett said there is no need to focus on one area.

“You really try to be as disciplined as you can ... because I think, by nature, if you draft too much for need, I think your team by definition gets worse,” he said.

Ware clarifies

DeMarcus Ware said he was talking about the whole team, not just quarterback Tony Romo, when he said this spring that it’s time to “put up or shut up.”

“That’s everybody,” he said Sunday night at a charity event in Grapevine. “If you get out there, like I said, it’s ‘put up or shut up — produce or don’t get on the field.’ That’s the bottom line.”

Ware made his original remarks in an interview with SiriusXM radio after Romo signed a six-year, $108 million extension.

Ware said he talked to Romo about what he said, and that it’s the same message Ware always tells the team: “Put everything else behind you and your best foot forward. He’s that guy for us, and he’s going to be that guy for us.”

Scheme longevity

Jerry Jones said he thinks the Cowboys will be in the 4-3 defensive scheme “for quite some time,” and that head scout Tom Ciskowski and executive vice president Stephen Jones still remember how to pick players for it.

“We’ve got a pretty good feel and a good base of our scouts, with Tom leading the way and Stephen having been here for years and years, they know what 4-3 defensive players look like,” Jones said.

The Cowboys made the move to the 3-4 in 2005, Bill Parcells’ third season in Dallas.

Briefly

• The Cowboys did not address their negotiations with defensive end Anthony Spencer or the status of defensive tackle Josh Brent.

• Last year, the first round of the draft took three hours. It is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. If the Cowboys stay at 18, their pick should come after 8:30.

Carlos Mendez, 817-390-7407 Twitter: @calexmendez

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