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Mailbag: Does Jones Make It Sound Like Free Will Stay?

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S. J. FINNESSEY,JR.
EAST GREENBUSH, NY

Do you think Jerry's comments on Doug Free indicate the Cowboys are looking to keep him? Let's face it, even if the Cowboys start Parnell at right tackle next year, Free is a good backup plan, right?

Bryan: I honestly believe that this team has a plan for Free at some point in time, whether it's keeping him at his current number, trying to reduce his contract or just outright releasing him. Depending on who you speak with, there is confidence in Jermey Parnell and you saw that first hand when the front office and coaches decided to split time with him and Free. The scout in me believes that they will work with Free to get his number down and let him compete with Parnell for the starting right tackle job. What will be interesting as we move forward toward the draft will they determine that one of these young tackles has a better to chance develop than keeping Free around? There could be a situation where their board gets wiped out and DJ Fluker from Alabama is staring them in the face. This potentially a decision that they will have to study.

Rowan: It could definitely get worse as a backup than a former starter, but the problem is they didn't pay Doug Free backup's money. He did nothing to earn that contract last season. Jones admitted the team really hadn't made a final judgment on Free, yet. I think they have an idea what they want to do, and that may be a June 1 cut, but I could see a scenario where Free could stay at his current price and still end up being a swing tackle. If he's still in camp, he'll compete with Parnell or whichever draft pick comes in.

SPUDD CAMPBELL
BALTIMORE, MD

Do you think the Cowboys should roll the dice on Laurent Robinson again?

Bryan: I am always for adding players especially players that were very productive in our system but if his health is a question mark and the issue is concussions, I am not interested in rolling the dice. When I first started in this league, there was a time where players played with concussions no questions asked, now and rightfully so, there are all kinds of tests and steps that you have to work through because of player safety. Let's all remember the position that Robinson plays, he is open to a blow to his head or being slammed on the ground at any point. The number of concussions he has suffered doesn't go away, it's still there. I remember all too well the last games of Troy Aikman career where he couldn't even take a normal quarterback pocket hit without having problems. It's a very difficult and tricky situation to handle because the problems are always there.

Rowan: It depends just how hurt he is. He had four concussions last season alone. Four. That can't be easy to come back from, and he also had an ankle injury to keep in mind. If the Cowboys' doctors deem him ready to compete, I'd consider an offer if they can make room for him. But he may not be healthy enough at this point.

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