We've known for some time now that the best offensive line in the NFL – that of the Dallas Cowboys – will be playing with a new starter at right tackle after veteran Doug Free announced his retirement early in March. However, until today's news that Free has officially been placed by the team on the Reserved/Retired list, there was a window of doubt cracked open for the 33-year-old lineman to return to the team after the rigors of training camp.
That window is now slammed shut, and the Cowboys have prepared themselves in free agency to transition away from Doug Free without having to spend premium draft capital. OT Byron Bell was added from the Tennessee Titans to compete with projected RT starter Chaz Green, and Emmett Cleary remains on the Cowboys roster after impressing in a week 17 start for Tyron Smith on the left side.
Cowboys officially placed Doug Free on Reserve/Retired list. That's two former Cowboys placed on Reserve/Retired this week. D-Ware, too.
This move by the Cowboys opens up an additional $5 million in cap space, which will likely help in signing the rookie class about to be drafted starting tonight. When this 2017 NFL Draft is all said and done, it is certainly possible that Dallas has a fresh face on the depth chart at offensive tackle, but it is not a pressing need thanks to a solid strategy by this front office that has worked over the past seasons.
Even without Doug Free, who is now officially retired, the Space Cowboys will be just fine moving forward.