The Cowboys could move Collins to tackle, a spot he played at LSU but not in his two years with the Cowboys, or hope the injuries that have plagued Chaz Green — a third-round pick in 2015 — the last two years are a thing of the past. Adding a low-cost free agent or commit to a high draft pick are options, but the draft is not stocked with top prospects this year.
Free, 33, was entering the final year of his contract and was set to make $5 million. A fourth-round pick in 2007, Free was the unquestioned leader of an offensive line that features three All-Pro selections in left tackle Tyron Smith, center Travis Frederick and right guard Zack Martin. He has started every game he has played since 2010 but switched to right tackle in 2012, when the Cowboys moved Smith to the left side.
He has been troubled by foot and ankle injuries the last few years but managed to remain in the lineup.
The Cowboys will gain $5 million in cap relief from Free’s retirement. He signed a three-year extension with the Cowboys in 2015 that was effectively a pay cut for that season. The Cowboys already had defensive needs, particularly in the secondary, but now they can add offensive line to their list of issues.
“I’ll definitely be ready by training camp, no doubt about it. I know that was a big story the past couple weeks, but for me, it’s nothing but a positive,” he said.
“Some of the best people I have ever met have been football players,” Cameron said. “Every single guy talks about the locker room and how that’s the thing they will miss. It’s so true. Some of the most down-to-earth, intelligent human beings are in there.”