Mailbag: Long-Term Plan At Right Tackle? D-Line Rotation For 2017?

ERIC DOCKERYEVANSVILLE, IN
Is it time to look at upgrading our right side? Doug Free consistently allows a defender in the backfield and flat out misses on blocks or attempts to hold.  Maybe with Tony Romo wanting to play elsewhere, we can get a high draft pick for the trade or at least an upgrade for Free.

Bryan: Free was bad in the 2nd of that game last week. He was good in the Lions game and for the most part has not been a problem. I wanted to believe that Chaz Green could have held that job done but with injuries the last two season, I now have my doubts. I could see them using a draft pick on a tackle if the right one is on the board to one day replace Free. 

David:This is a classic overreaction to a bad game. Yes, Free struggled in the second half against Philly. But he's mostly been solid this entire season. It's probably fair to say he's the weak link on the offensive line, but guess what? The line is stocked with All-Pros. Being the "weak link" doesn't make him a bad player. Free has one more year on his contract, and I think the Cowboys will keep him through the end of it. They have Chaz Green waiting in the wings, but given his injury history, it wouldn't surprise me if they grabbed a new tackle in the draft.

MARCUS JONESBATESVILLE, MS
There appears to be a logjam on the defensive front. With the emergence of David Irving and Benson Mayowa, along with the return of Charles Tapper and Ryan Davis next year, we are going to be very deep at defensive end. Assuming Gregory wins his appeal and the team takes at least one pass rusher in the draft, we could potentially have 7-8 talented defensive ends making up our roster. If this is the case, who do you think will be the odd man/men out on our line?

Bryan: I think you're wrong to assume that Gregory is going to win and you're hopeful on Tapper, as well. If they draft an end -- which I think they will -- they're likely to move Irving back inside to tackle. The numbers you speak of look different when you think of it this way. 

David:Your assessment seems fairly optimistic, to be honest. Whatever happens with his appeal, we've learned that it's hard to count on Randy Gregory. We've also yet to see Tapper play a down of football. Terrell McClain, Jack Crawford and Ryan Davis are free agents, so the front office will have to make some decisions there. Right now, we're looking at a core group of DeMarcus Lawrence, Tyrone Crawford, Maliek Collins, David Irving and Benson Mayowa. Add some free agent signings and some draft picks to the equation, and it looks pretty promising. 

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