Dallas Cowboys

Cowboys expect Doug Free back at right tackle this season

Owner Jerry Jones and coach Jason Garrett said they expect Doug Free to return to the Cowboys this season.

A report last week said the right tackle was considering retirement.

“I do not know of any talk of retirement in regards to Doug Free,” Garrett said. “We had a good visit after the season. He, like all the players, they wanted to get away for a little while, then get themselves recharged and come back to work. I don’t anticipate anything other than that.”

Free, 33, enters the final year of his contract, which will pay him a $5 million base salary and count $7.5 million against the cap.

He has started all 16 games in seven of the past eight seasons. Free allowed seven sacks and had three holding penalties last season, according to STATS.

Starting left guard La’el Collins began his pro career at right tackle as a rookie in the Cowboys’ offseason program while Free was rehabbing from offseason surgery. Collins spent his final two seasons at LSU as the starting left tackle after beginning his career at left guard.

Collins spent most of last season on injured reserve after undergoing surgery on his right big toe. Ron Leary played well in his absence, but the Cowboys expect to lose Leary in free agency.

“We’ve visited about [Collins playing right tackle],” Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones said.

“…”Our projection is Doug is going to come back, and he’s our starting right tackle. Obviously, if we don’t get Leary re-signed, which will be difficult, then we see La’el as our starting guard.”


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