Free will stay with Cowboys with reduced deal

Posted Thursday, May. 16, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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The impasse between the Dallas Cowboys and maligned offensive tackle Doug Free is over.

Free will remain with the Cowboys after agreeing to a pay cut as part of a new two-year contract that will pay him $7 million total in 2013 and 2014, according to multiple sources Thursday.

Only his $3.5 million salary in 2013 is guaranteed, making it essentially a one-year deal.

Free was scheduled to make $7 million in 2013 as part of a four-year, $32 million deal he signed in 2011.

He has started 48 games with the Cowboys but struggled last season, so much so that he was forced to share snaps with Jermey Parnell at right tackle.

The Cowboys have been clear that they wanted Free to return to the team in 2013 and continue to compete with Parnell at right tackle. But they were also clear that they weren’t going to pay him $7 million to do so.

If Free hadn’t agreed to a pay cut, he would have been released.

In the end both sides got something out of deal. It was unlikely Free would have gotten $3.5 million guaranteed for this season on the free-agent market, especially at this late date.

The Cowboys were able to clear salary room, so they may possibly pursue other free agents or give a veteran player a contract extension.

Roster moves

The Cowboys bolstered their defensive line by signing veteran defensive end Anthony Hargrove to a one-year deal.

The Cowboys released guard D.J. Hall to make room for Hargrove, who will get the veteran minimum of $840,000 in 2013. He will count $555,000 against the salary cap.

Hargrove didn’t play in 2012 after being suspended for the first eight games for his involvement in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal. Hargrove had signed with the Green Bay Packers in the spring of 2012 but was released before the season and was not signed by another team. The suspension was vacated by former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue.

A third-round pick of the St. Louis Rams in 2004, Hargove was suspended for the 2008 season for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy.

He played with the Saints in 2009 and 2010 before spending one year in Seattle in 2011.

Hargrove, who has also played with the Buffalo Bills, has appeared in 102 NFL games, starting 25. He has 19.5 career sacks.

The Cowboys, who have switched to a 4-3 defense, have no proven depth at defensive end behind starters DeMarcus Ware and Anthony Spencer.

Clarence E. Hill Jr., 817-390-7760 Twitter: @clarencehilljr

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