Guard Ron Leary is the latest free agent departure for the Dallas Cowboys.
Leary has reached a four-year deal with the Denver Broncos, a source confirmed. According to the NFL Network, the deal is worth $35 million with $20 million guaranteed.
Leary, 27, has been a staple in the Cowboys offensive line the past four years. He started 31 of 32 games in 2013-14 and then started four games in 2015, losing the starting left guard job to La’el Collins.
But the Cowboys kept Leary as an insurance policy last season, something that worked out well when Collins went down with an injury. Leary started 13 games for the top offensive line in the NFL, which helped him land a lucrative contract this offseason.
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Leary has to be considered a success story, going from an undrafted player out of Memphis and developing into a solid starter for the Cowboys. Owner Jerry Jones raved about Leary at the Senior Bowl in January, saying he handled his benching in 2015 as well as possible.
“I never dreamed that he would turn out to be the quality of person,” Jones said. “The way he kept his eye going forward on the best interest of the team, the way he handled it personally. He’s somebody I really admire, and he really helped us this year.”
The Cowboys have 18 free agents and have seen several already depart. Leary joins safety Barry Church (Jacksonville) and defensive tackle Terrell McClain (Washington) in reaching agreements with other teams early on in free agency.