Dallas Cowboys right tackle Doug Free has agreed to a pay cut that will allow him to remain with the team.
Free’s new deal calls for him to receive $7 million over two years, but only his $3.5 million salary in 2013 is guaranteed.
Free was scheduled to make $7 million in 2013 as part of the four-year, $32 million contract he signed in 2011.
Free struggled out of the gate last season, prompting the Cowboys to force him to split time with Jeremy Parnell.
RELATED: Tackle Doug Free agrees to pay cut to stay with Cowboys
The impasse between the Dallas Cowboys and maligned left tackle Doug Free is over.
Free will remain with the Cowboys as he has agreed to a pay cut as part of a new two-year contract that will pay him $7 million in 2013 and 2014, per multiple sources.
Only his $3.5 million salary in 2013 is guaranteed making it essentially a one-year deal.
Free was scheduled to make $7 million in 2013 as part of a four-year, $32 million deal he signed in 2011.
He has started 48 games with the Cowboys but struggled mightily last season _ so much so that he forced to share snaps with Jeremy Parnell.
The Cowboys have been clear that they wanted Free to return to the team in 2013 and continue to compete with Parnell at right tackle. But they were also clear that they weren’t going to pay him $7 million to do so.
If Free hadn’t agreed to a pay cut, he would have been released.
In the end both sides got something out of deal as it was unlikely Free would have gotten $3.5 million guaranteed for next season on the free agent market, especially at this late date.
The Cowboys were able to clear salary room to so they could possibly pursue other free agents or even give one of their players a contract extension.
RELATED: Doug Free reworks contract to stay with Cowboys
The Doug Free saga is over.
The right tackle has agreed to a substantial pay decrease in his final two seasons to remain with the Dallas Cowboys.
Free was scheduled to make $15 million in base salary over the next two seasons — $7 million in 2013 and $8 million next season. That total has been reduced to a total of $7 million, meaning the offensive linemen will make $3.5 million in base salary in each of the next two seasons.
The $7 million figure this season made Free the league’s highest paid right tackle. This restructured contract falls in line with the current market.
Tyson Clabo, the former right tackle from Atlanta who graded out much higher than Free last season, signed a one-year, $3.5 million contract with Miami earlier this month.
The Cowboys had kicked the tires on Clabo along with right tackle Eric Winston in free agency in case a deal could not be reached with Free. The club held the threat of a post June 1 cut over Free’s head. But the longer this dragged on, the more clear it became that the Cowboys preferred to keep Free and avoid the salary cap hit that would have been forced to absorb in 2014 by releasing him.
Free gave up seven sacks and was hit with 13 penalties last season. His grades in the run game were poor and he finished the season splitting snaps with Jermey Parnell.
RELATED ROSTER NEWS:
Dallas Cowboys sign defensive end Anthony Hargrove
In other news, Dallas signed defensive end Anthony Hargrove, who missed last season because of an eight-game NFL-imposed suspension for his role in the New Orleans Saints bounty scandal.
To make room for Hargrove on the 90-man roster, the Cowboys cut recently signed guard D.J. Hall, a Texas State product.
Editors comment: Click HERE for more information on this signing.