The Dallas Cowboys said Doug Free was their priority, and they put their money behind it. Late Tuesday night, Free agreed to stay in Dallas with a four-year, $32 million deal that guarantees him $17 million, according to a source.
Free agents, even a team's own, are not allowed to practice until Aug. 4. They can, however, attend meetings.
Free allowed five sacks in his first season as a full-time starter and was the Cowboys' most consistent offensive lineman. Dallas drafted Tyron Smith in the first round in April and expects to pair the two together for years to come, with Smith possibly moving to the left side and Free back to the right sometime in the future.
For now, Tony Romo has his back protected by a veteran.
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Dallas had chosen not to apply the franchise tag to Free, which would have cost them $10.1 million. Instead, the Cowboys had to fend off several teams interested in Free on the free agent market, including the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
He was a fourth-round pick in 2007 and took over at right tackle midway through the 2009 season when Marc Colombo was injured. Colombo's job might be in jeopardy now that Free has re-signed.
The Cowboys notified four veterans -- kicker Kris Brown, running back Marion Barber, receiver Roy Williams and offensive guard Leonard Davis -- that they would be released later this week.