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Getting Doug Free Back is a Key to the Cowboys in Free Agency

Rainer Sabin at the Dallas Morning News writes today that getting OL Doug Free back in 2011 is going to be priority #1 once free agency starts for the Cowboys.

“We want to sign Doug back,” Stephen Jones said. “We think he is a very productive offensive tackle for us and he’ll be our No. 1 priority when things start up. [Our goal] is to try to get him signed up.”

Once the labor dispute is resolved, the Cowboys are expected to have a 72-hour window to do just that before a bidding war for Free’s services would begin with the league’s other 31 teams. It will be a critical three-day period for the Cowboys, who will have to trim a significant sum of money off their payroll to meet the demands of the new salary cap, which is supposed to be in the neighborhood of $120 million.

If they are able to sign Free early in the process, they will have know how much money they have allocated towards their left tackle and in turn have a better understanding of how many other acquisitions they can realistically make as well how many players they need to cut. But if they can’t strike a deal with Free in that 72-hour cycle, then the Cowboys could be forced to operate in the dark.

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