|Former Starter Costa Cut -|
Is Free Far Behind?
Free can play this year as a starter and allow us to draft/develop a replacement. His cap hit is reasonable and he can be released next year for a big savings (~$7m).
Free can be extended at a reasonable rate as a forseeable starter, eventually becoming a well (but not prohibitively) paid swing tackle. Something like through 2017, with a $3m signing bonus and $1m guaranteed in 2014-15, $2m in 2016, and $3m in 2017. That saves us almost $2m this year and $7m next year.
Or, if we spend a top pick in this year's draft, we probably have an immediate starter at RT. Cheaply extend Parnell (at vet min for, say, 3yrs with a small bonus-- perhaps $750k) to be the swing guy and cut Free. We lose $480k on this year's cap but make about $11m on next year's cap. That's a nice little cherry on top.
Much like the Ware situation, there's not really a lose in this situation, it's just "what do you want to do?"
In other news, however, continuing the "if I did it" theme, I'd like to take a look at what I would do, right now, as Miles' Austin's agent.
My client is due tons of cash. He's coming off a second ineffective, injury-riddled year. EVERYONE knows he's going to be a cap cut and is waiting to offer him the vet min for one year on the off chance that he gets through camp without a hamstring pull. If I want better than that (and, let's face it, there's a really good chance teams just skip him and save him as an "off the couch" option in November emergency) then I call Jerry Jones right now.
"Jerry, you know what my client can do, and I know what he hasn't done lately. but he knows your system and has proven he can excel in it. He's better than Laurent Robinson was and look what that guy did two years ago in a bit part. You know Austin can play that bit part to a 't'. Let's do that. Cut his Salary to $1-1.5m a year for the rest of his contract and guarantee this year... or don't guarantee anything but give him a small restructure bonus-- like $1-2m. Make him your depth WR. Give him about 10-15 snaps a game out of the slot and have him in reserve in case Dez's back goes south or Terrence Williams breaks a hand. You guys get a strong depth player who knows and excels in your offense. My client gets to see some money, but more importantly continues to be a community favorite and has a chance for endorsements and other things that trade on that local popularity because he has a real chance to play out his career as a cowboy. I get to see more $ than I will if he hits the open market. We all win."
I have two days to convince them.