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Job Well Done


agreement, thus rendering this last year of the existing CBA an uncapped season, which allows teams to dump any unaccounted prorated signing bonuses for released veterans without penalty. Do it next year, assuming there is an NFL playing next year, there would have been a two-year penalty on Adams five-year deal signed in 2008. 

He said he understood that part of the business, too. They all do if they stay in the league long enough. Hey, if the Cowboys can cut Troy Aikman and Emmitt Smith, if they can tell Randy White and Too Tall Jones that's it, if they can trade away Tony Dorsett and Herschel Walker, then breaking up with Adams after 12 years can't be all that hard to do. 

No, the hard part is replacing guys like that. Sometimes it takes time. Let's see, if I remember, there were a lot of loud voices out there calling for the Cowboys to find a new quarterback, find a new running back. And let's see, after the Cowboys cut Aikman following the 2000 season, it took them most of six seasons before they found a quarterback they could sink their teeth - and money - into. Smith was let go in 2003 before Bill Parcells took over the team. Not sure where you are on this, but we are going into 2010 and still talking about "sharing" the position. And while injury sent Michael Irvin packing four games into the 1999 season, the Cowboys still are looking - and drafting - for the next franchise wide receiver. 

Those of you rejoicing Flo's departure might should push pause. 

The Cowboys demonstrated in the draft just because you might need a first-round quality offensive tackle doesn't mean you get one. And look, one they liked enough to draft where his talent merited drafting him didn't come along until the sixth round this year (Sam Young). 

Fourth-year tackle Doug Free will get first crack at Flo's job. Everyone seems to feel good about his chances, even Flo, saying it's his fourth year and he should be fine. He played well last year on the right side in seven starts in relief of Marc Colombo. 

But even though the Cowboys say they believe in Free, they also have done their due diligence making sure there are alternatives. That's why on Monday they will finalize the trade of Bobby Carpenter to the Rams for five-year veteran offensive tackle Alex Barron, who started 74 games on the right and left side for St. Louis. Obviously, though, the Rams wanted better than the guy they took with the 19th pick in the 2005 draft, one ahead of Marcus Spears. 

And while the Cowboys have the likes of 2009 third-round pick Robert Brewster and the possibility of four-year veteran Pat McQuistan, they knew they needed one more insurance policy. That would be right guard Leonard Davis, sure a Pro Bowler there, but a one-time starter at left tackle for the Cardinals. But to move him out there, they would need a more legitimate replacement at right guard. 

So on Monday they re-signed their only unrestricted free agent this off-season, Montrae Holland, a guy with seven years in the league who did not once put on his uniform on game day last year. But understand this: They did so and at a more reasonable price than reported. The first year of his two-year deal will be worth straight up $1.25 million, which includes a $900,000 base salary and a roster bonus already paid (like a signing bonus) of $350,000. Now if he should like become a 16-game starter, he stands to earn another $1.25 million in incentives. And if he's here again next year, it's a $1 million base, a $500,000 roster bonus due in March and the same incentive package. But no signing bonus that would escalate into a salary cap if cut next year, that is if there is a next year.  

See, not all that easy to replace a guy who had started 11 consecutive seasons at left tackle, and who only missed those 10 games in 2005. That's it, 16 for 16 every one of those other seasons. If the Cowboys were playing, so was Adams. That's hard to find. 

Go look it up if you don't believe me. Very few Cowboys offensive linemen, and especially offensive tackles, have played longer and better, or have been as durable. 

He deserves a hand he probably never will get. Glad I could give him one.     

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