Cowboys Right Tackle: Who Replaces Recently Retired Doug Free? ⋆
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Cowboys Right Tackle: Who Replaces Recently Retired Doug Free?

How Should The Dallas Cowboys Replace RT Doug Free?

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Cowboys Right Tackle: Who Replaces Recently Retired Doug Free?

Cowboys Right Tackle: Who Replaces Recently Retired Doug Free?

With the recent announcement of Doug Free‘s retirement, the Dallas Cowboys now have a hole to fill in their offensive line at the right tackle position. Whether or not the new Cowboys right tackle is currently on the roster or if they have to look outside for help, I thought it was a good time to explore all of their options.

You can say all you want about Doug Free, but he’s been a mainstay on the right side of the Cowboys offensive line for nearly a decade and his veteran leadership will certainly be missed in the locker room. Unfortunately, age catches up with all athletes and his play on the field was noticeably starting to decline. He chose to leave the game on his own terms, instead of waiting for his fate to be chosen for him.

For the Dallas Cowboys offensive line to continue to be one of the best units in the NFL, they absolutely have to do their due diligence in order to find their next starting right tackle. Below we will examine the Cowboys options to find Doug Free’s replacement for 2017 and beyond.

Cowboys In-House Options

OT Emmett ClearyThe Dallas Cowboys are certainly hoping that Doug Free’s replacement is currently on the roster. That means they don’t have to bring in anyone else and can put their minds at ease they will once again have arguably the best offensive line in the NFL. But, only they know how comfortable they are with their current in-house options.

Chaz Green is probably the favorite to step in and become the right tackle in 2017. That is why he was drafted in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft to begin with. Green has filled in nicely as an injury replacement and played well when given the chance, but he simply can’t stay healthy. That’s not very encouraging if you’re looking for stability at the right tackle position.

Emmett Cleary is another in-house option the Cowboys could look at to replace Doug Free. Like Green, Cleary has played well as an injury replacement, so we could see an open competition between the two tackles this off-season.

Of course, the wildcard here is La’el Collins. The signing of offensive guard Jonathan Cooper gives the Cowboys some flexibility with what they want to do with Collins. He was a tackle in college at LSU, but the Cowboys like him better inside as a guard. Cooper can be the Cowboys new starting left guard, which would allow Collins to kick outside right tackle.

Unfortunately, will have to wait and see exactly how they feel about their in-house options.

Sign a Veteran Free Agent

OT Austin PasztorI think it’s unlikely that the Dallas Cowboys decide to go this route, but signing a veteran free agent tackle they could plug-in and play right away has its advantages. The reason I don’t see them going this route though is because of the money involved. But, if they could find a bargain, that certainly changes things.

Ryan Clady, King Dunlap, Sebastian Vollmer, and even Austin Pasztor are all available free agent tackles the Cowboys could look to bring in. All of them have started in the NFL and could even be an upgrade if all parties can come together by working out a contract that is mutually beneficial to everyone involved.

I personally don’t see them going this route with both with Chaz Green and Emmett Cleary on the roster, but things can change in a blink of an eye if they decide they don’t like their current options.

Draft a Rookie Replacement

OT Cam RobinsonThe Dallas Cowboys have built their impressive offensive line through the draft, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if they decided to go this route once again. This isn’t the deepest class for offensive lineman, so they might have to invest yet another early round draft pick if they’re looking for someone to plug-in as a rookie.

If the Cowboys are looking for an instant starter as a rookie, then they will probably have to hope either Ryan Ramczyk, Garett Bolles, or Cam Robinson are still available when they’re on the clock at 28 in the first round. Of course, there are other options available later in the draft, but they might not be ready to step in right away.

Since the Cowboys do currently have options on the roster, they don’t have to reach for a prospect. They can let the draft play out and if there’s an offensive tackle sitting there they think can come in and be an upgrade, then they will certainly pull the trigger.

There’s no way of knowing right now what they will do to replace Doug Free, but this will certainly be a situation we will all probably be keeping a close watchful eye on. For the Dallas Cowboys to have a successful 2017 season, finding the right replacement at right tackle could be the deciding factor.

How do you think the Dallas Cowboys should replace Doug Free?

Brian Martin

Level C2/C3 quadriplegic. College graduate with a bachelors degree in sports and health sciences-concentration sports management. Sports enthusiast. Dallas Cowboys fanatic. Lover of life with a glass half-full point of view.

4 Comments
  • Russ_Te

    Would expect the OL draft strategy is to look for value and/or a project with talent down the draft. Especially someone with swing ability like Collins. But unless it’s just an offensive player that can’t be passed on, pretty sure the focus up the draft stays on defense this year.

    So they have to add on the OL – whether that way or F/A. I like the idea of Collins at RT because it should be an instant upgrade from Free, and it may be the thing that keeps him healthy. Also LG should be an easier proposition to fill – whether that is Cooper, draft or F/A.

    And LG is a lucky position for Dallas. Nate Newton and Ronald Leary, both went undrafted.

    • Brian Martin

      There is no way of really knowing what the Cowboys are going to do to address the RT position. Personally, I don’t understand why everybody wants to move Collins. The Cowboys tried him there previously in training camp and obviously didn’t really like what they saw. That is why he has been the left guard. I think they are ready to go with Green and Cleary, but wouldn’t hesitate to draft a OT if they thought it was an upgrade.

      • Russ_Te

        Collins has the size and athleticism for T, but if he just doesn’t look as good there, no doubt that will affect what they do. I see the move outside as a possibility not really a probability. If they think Cooper fills the LG, they may decide to look again at Collins for RT. But if it’s a drop off for him, better to go another direction of course.

        More confident about the draft approach – defense early unless an offensive player falls whom it would be foolish to pass on. In any case, I think they’ll find an intriguing project or two who could turn into an OL starter down the road.

        • Brian Martin

          Russ, I agree with all that.

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