Mailbag: How Is Free Different From Flo?
JIM MCD – SCRANTON, PA: I was very impressed with Doug Free’s athleticism last year, finishing plays way down field, with a bang. I hate to part ways with a proven commodity in Flozell Adams, but does Free bring something different to the table, to the huddle, and to the team?
Nick: Obviously he’s younger and more athletic. That’s really all we know. It’s hard to tell over time just what his mental make-up is when he’s facing the top pass-rushers in the league every week. With Flozell, you knew he’d dig into his bag of tricks before he just let the guy get to Tony Romo. Sometimes it happened, but not often. As strong as Adams was as a player, he seemed mentally tough as well, not to mention the fact that he was a punching-bag and a punch-line for fans and media near the end. So it’s a tough island to live on at left tackle. Physically I think Free could do it, but mentally every day, there’s no way to gauge that.
Rob: He’s just built different than Flo. He’s a smaller, quicker, more agile lineman. Part of that is due to being in his mid-20s. Free looks athletic enough to move with speed rushers, but it’ll be interesting to see how he does in the run game. That’s been a very underrated part of Adams’ game.
JOHN KOENIGSFELD – TOKYO: Why aren’t we using this uncapped season to dump Roy Williams’ contract? We’ve had enough time to evaluate what we have. I can’t believe we’re still talking about giving him more time to gel with Tony Romo.
Nick: Not all contracts are the same. Some of these deals are so new that there is still plenty of guaranteed money owed to Williams. So it makes no sense to cut a guy and still have to pay him so much, especially when there’s a hope he might reach his potential. I think he’s still got another year before the Cowboys decide to make a bold move there.
Rob: For the umpteenth time, Williams isn’t going anywhere this season. The Cowboys aren’t going to pay him upwards of $10 million simply to go away. Adams and Ken Hamlin are gone, yes, but they didn’t have near that much guaranteed money. And the organization still feels Williams can be productive in this offense. Disagree if you like, but that’s the deal.
ASHER GEORGE – RENO, NV: What is going on with this team? Seems like the whole division is getting better and all the Cowboys do is cut players and raise more questions!
Nick: Well I think the recent cuts should be questioned, especially Flozell. But you have to remember those other teams needed more than the Cowboys, who aren’t about to just go add players for no reason. Look at what they just did, they’re telling us they have confidence in their young players, and don’t need to sign high-priced free agents. I would imagine this might be a longer free agency than normal. So we might see players sign all summer instead of the first two or three waves leading up the draft.
Josh: The Joneses will tell you a lot of their budget for this year was spent on contract extensions for their own players in the last few years. As for last week’s cuts, I think the Cowboys deserve some benefit of the doubt for the additions by subtraction last year – T.O., Pacman, Anthony Henry, Greg Ellis. Those made room for the emergence of Miles Austin, Mike Jenkins and Anthony Spencer. Maybe Doug Free and Alan Ball/Mike Hamlin are ready.
ANDY MORALLER – MIDDLESEX, NJ: Since trades within the division are OK now, apparently, what about Albert Haynesworth? I know the guy is an expensive malcontent but our line sure couldn`t block him. Any chance the Cowboys are interested?
Nick: Don’t see how. Just because the Eagles are fine with it, doesn’t mean the Redskins are. Don’t hold your breath on that one.
Josh: Well, the McNabb deal is still going to be the exception, not the rule. If, in some unbelievable turn of events, the Redskins did offer Haynesworth to the Cowboys, they should be all over it. If the Redskins just traded him out of the division it would be good enough for the Cowboys. What a ridiculous waste of money.