#68 Doug Free
Doug Free was born in Manitowoc, Wisconsin on January 16, 1984. He played collegiately at Northern Illinois University. He is currently an offensive tackle for the Dallas Cowboys, who drafted him in the fourth round of the 2007 NFL Draft.
Doug Free attended Lincoln High School in a Manitowoc, Wisconsin. He excelled on the football field as well as in the classroom during his high school career.
Free not only lettered three times in football at Lincoln High School, but was also an honor student.
As a defensive tackle in 2002, Free led the team to a 7-3 record and a playoff berth, recording 64 tackles, eight sacks, seven blocked kicks, six forced fumbles, six pass deflections, and two fumble recoveries. He also had six receptions for 141 yards and one touchdown as a tight end on offense.
As a senior, he was the team captain and was named defensive lineman of the year. He also earned first-team All-Fox Valley Conference honors on offense and defense, first-team Herald Times Reporter all-area honors, and Milwaukee Journey Sentinel all-state honors.
Upon the completion of his high school career, Doug Free accepted a scholarship to Northern Illinois University.
Doug Free was redshirted his first year at Northern Illinois, but was forced to start at right tackle as a freshman after Shea Fitzgerald was killed along with 12 others, when a back porch collapsed in Lincoln Park.
He started all 12 games following his redshirt season, the first two at right tackle, the next nine at left tackle, and the last at tight end. He was named to the Freshman All-America third-team by The Sporting News.
Free earned Sophomore All-American third-team honors from College Sports Report and was named second-team All-Mid American Conference by the league’s coaches.
As a junior, he started 12 games at left tackle and earned first-team All-Mid American Conference honors. He was also nominated for MAC All-Academic honors and CoSIDA District V All-Academic honors after earning a 3.24 grade point average in industrial technology.
As a senior, he earned first-team All-Mid American Conference and Academic All-MAC honors. He was also a member of the Outland Trophy and Lombardi Award Watch List.
During his time at Northern Illinois, Doug Free started a total of 49 games and was a semifinalist for the Draddy Award, which recognizes academic success, football performance, and exemplary community service.
2007 NFL Draft
The Dallas Cowboys drafted Doug Free in the fourth round (122nd overall) of the 2007 NFL Draft with the hopes of developing him into a key member along the offensive line.
Doug Free started his first preseason game as a rookie, but suffered a knee sprain that would eventually delay his development and cause him to be inactive for the first 15 games of the season. He did, however, receive some playing time at right tackle in the fourth quarter of the last game of the year.
In 2008, Free was inactive for 13 games and didn’t receive much playing time. It wasn’t until the next season — in 2009 — he got the chance to play, filling in for the injured Marc Colombo. He started seven games that season and performed at a high level, allowing only one quarterback sack.
The Dallas Cowboys decided to release long-time left tackle Flozell Adams on April 1, 2010 and named Doug Free the starting left tackle in his place. Free would go on to be recognized as one of the best players in the league at his position.
The Dallas Cowboys signed Doug Free to a four-year $32 million contract on July 26, 2011 to keep him from hitting the free agent market. His play seemed to regress a little that season, causing him to move back to right tackle in 2012.
The move back to right tackle in 2012 didn’t seem to help his regression and he split time with Jermey Parnell. Sharing playing time, Free still gave up seven QB sacks, five holding penalties, and seven false starts. After the season, he accepted a reduced salary in order to avoid being waived.
In 2013, his play improved and he once again became one of the more consistent offensive lineman on the team.
In 2014, he struggled with injuries and missed a total of seven games, including two playoff games. He would end up having off-season surgery to help repair a stress fracture in his left ankle.
On March 7, 2015, the Dallas Cowboys re-signed him to a three-year $15 million contract. He started all 16 games at right tackle, but led the team with nine penalties.
The Dallas Cowboys signed Doug Free to a three-year $15 million contract extension with $6 million guaranteed on March 7, 2015. Free will make an average of $5 million per season. This contract makes him the 12th highest-paid of 91 right tackles in the NFL.
In 2016, Doug Free’s base salary is $4 million with a cap hit of $5,500,000. In 2017, his base salary is $5 million and he has a cap hit of $6,500,000. He will become a free agent after the 2017 season and the Dallas Cowboys are likely to move on and find someone to replace him at right tackle.
Should Cowboys Reunite Shea McClellin With Rod Marinelli?
Since becoming the defensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys, Rod Marinelli hasn't had too many of his former players follow him to Dallas. In fact, I can only think of one… Henry Melton, and we all know how that turned out.
I don't know about you, but I found that a little strange. It's pretty common for coaches to try to bring some of their players with them when they accept a new job. Familiarity goes a long way in the NFL and former players can also help make the transition easier for everyone.
Strangely enough, Rod Marinelli hasn't really been afforded that luxury, whether it was his doing or not. But, there is a free agent who played under Marinelli's tutelage in Chicago who might make sense for the Dallas Cowboys, linebacker Shea McClellin.
Rod Marinelli was the defensive coordinator in Chicago when the Bears decided to draft Shea McClellin 19th overall in the 2012 NFL Draft. Marinelli likely had a big say in that decision, and if he still feels the same, a reunion could be in order.
Shea McClellin started his career in the NFL as a 4-3 left side defensive end playing opposite Julius Peppers, but was also viewed as a potential Brian Urlacher replacement. He showed flashes of becoming a solid defensive end his first few years in the league, but was eventually moved to linebacker, where he seemed to find a home for himself.
After his contract expired with the Bears, the New England Patriots decided to bring him aboard to help with their linebacker depth. He only ended up starting four games for them in 2016, but made some memorable plays to help the Patriots become the Super Bowl champions.
Unfortunately, the 2017 season wasn't very kind to him. His entire year was wiped out due to a concussion, which probably had a lot to do with why they recently released him.
This of course could be good news for the Dallas Cowboys. They currently need some depth at the linebacker position and Shea McClellin could provide that, if he's healthy. The healthy bit here is key, because he has had problems with concussions in the past.
If McClellin is indeed healthy, he could bring a versatile skill set to the Cowboys defense. His best spot is probably at strong side LB (SAM), but I think he could play middle linebacker (MIKE) as well. He also could provide depth at defensive end, the position he played to start his NFL career.
With the LB depth a concern, Shea McClellin makes quite a bit of sense for the Dallas Cowboys. Of course, his past history with concussions is a red flag, but it also drives down his asking price. I think he would definitely fall into that "bargain shopping" mentality the Cowboys have been using these last few offseasons.
He probably wouldn't be viewed as a very important signing, but you still need these types of players on your team in order to succeed in the NFL. Let's see if the Dallas Cowboys agree.
Do you think a Rod Marinelli and Shea McClellin reunion is in order?
Redskins Have Not Had Success With Former Cowboys
Now that he's signed with the Washington Redskins, cornerback Orlando Scandrick joins a lackluster list of former Cowboys players and coaches who have gone from Dallas to its historic rival. The history of these moves is ugly for Washington, going back over 40 years, and can't have their fans too excited anytime they sign an ex-Cowboy.
The most recent example was just last year with defensive tackle Terrell McClain. After a strong season as a 15-game starter in Dallas, McClain got a four-year, $21 million deal to join the Redskins. He missed four games with injuries and was only credited with two starts; hardly what the team wanted given the money they paid.
Before him it was Jason Hatcher, whose 11-sack season for the Cowboys in 2013 got him a four-year, $27.5 million deal from Washington. Hatcher would battle knee injuries for two season, getting only 7.5 sacks from 2014-2015. His early retirement in 2016 brought an abrupt end to a disappointing tenure.
Continuing the legacy of defensive linemen was Stephen Bowen, who Washington paid a shocking amount of money ($27.5 million over five years) to in 2011 to pick up in free agency. Bowen had a great first year for the Redskins with six sacks and 16 starts, but injuries would soon cost him 14 games from 2013-2014. He was eventually released after only one standout season in four with the team.
Going back even further, DT Brandon Noble joined Washington in 2003 after being a full-time starter for Dallas for over two seasons. He would miss all of 2003 with a knee injury, have an unimpressive year in 2004, and then missed all of 2005 with more health issues. He retired after being released by the Redskins in 2006.
Orlando Scandrick won't be the first cornerback to go from Dallas to Washington, or the best. At age 32, Deion Sanders was released in 2000 by the Cowboys and then got a huge seven-year, $56 million deal from the Redskins. This came less than a year after Daniel Snyder bought the franchise and was desperate to get them relevant again.
The Sanders move backfired horribly. Even after a solid season by his lofty standards, Primetime was disgruntled with both the coaching staff and his increasing struggles as an aging player. He suddenly retired after just one season of the seven-year contract.
Washington also tried to tap into the Cowboys' glory days when they signed receiver Alvin Harper in 1997. Harper had left Dallas in 1995 and spent two years with Tampa Bay, but had not carried over the same success he enjoyed playing in the Dallas offense.
The Redskins hoped that reuniting him with Norv Turner, who had been Harper's offensive coordinator and was now their head coach, would help Alvin get back to form. But between ongoing injuries and the absence of Troy Aikman, Michael Irvin, and Emmitt Smith as teammates, Alvin Harper was never the same guy as when he won two Super Bowls in Dallas.
The failed poaching attempts go back many more decades, another one being running back Calvin Hill. The fourth-leading rusher in Cowboys history and a four-time Pro Bowler while in Dallas, Hill joined Washington in 1976. He served as a backup only, averaging only 3.8 yards-per-carry as he played behind the likes of Mike Thomas and John Riggins.
The bad history doesn't stop with players. The aforementioned Norv Turner, who was one of the hottest assistant coaches in history after the Cowboys first two Super Bowl wins in the 90s, was hired as the Redskins' head coach in 1994.
Turner's run started with a whimper, drafting quarterback Heath Shuler third overall in that first year. Shuler would go down as one of the biggest QB busts in NFL history
Norv's Redskins never seemed to recover from that blunder. He only had two winning seasons and one playoff appearance from 1994-1999, and was fired midway through the 2000 season.
Far more recently, Cowboys offensive line coach Bill Callahan left the team in 2015 and took the same job in Washington. He didn't get to bring the offensive line or DeMarco Murray with him, though. As such, the Redskins have remained one of the league's worst rushing teams for the last three seasons. They fell to a new low of 28th in the NFL in 2017.
~ ~ ~
Of course, none of this means that Orlando Scandrick won't have success in Washington. But with the Redskins generally the most mismanaged team in the NFC East, all of the Dallas players and coaches who've gone there have not walked into good situations. For all that Cowboys fans love to complain about Jerry Jones, he handles the owner and GM roles better than any pair Washington's had in almost 30 years.
Given the nature of the rivalries, we naturally can't wish success for Scandrick or anyone else who leaves Dallas for a division opponent. With the track record we just discussed for Washington, it's not something I'll be losing any sleep over.
Cowboys Trade for FB Jamize Olawale from Raiders
Less than a week after the Cowboys lost fullback Keith Smith to the Raiders in free agency, the two teams have worked out a trade to send FB Jamize Olawale from Oakland to Dallas.
Fullback trade! The #Raiders are sending FB Jamize Olawale to the #Cowboys, sources say. Dallas has its fullback, one who was with Oakland since 2012.
To facilitate the trade, the Cowboys will send their fifth-round pick (173rd overall) to the Raiders for their sixth-round pick (192nd), moving back just 19 spots.
In return, Dallas not only brings in a veteran replacement at FB but a player they already know.
Jamize Olawale was an undrafted rookie free agent of the Cowboys in 2012. Despite a strong showing in that preseason, Dallas did not have room for him on the roster. He was on the team's practice squad until December, when Oakland poached him.
Since then, Olawale has been a regular roleplayer in the Raiders' offense. He's missed just six games since 2013.
Jamize brings more offensive firepower to the FB position than Keith Smith had. He's scored at least one touchdown in each of the last three seasons. He can be effective both running and receiving.
Through the trade, Dallas picks up the final year of Olawale's current contract. It calls for a $1.5 million base salary in 2018.
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