ARLINGTON, Texas — Dallas Cowboys right tackle Doug Free wanted no part of talking about his current contract situation on Wednesday.
Free was one of nine Cowboys to join head coach Jason Garrett in the 2013 Reliant Home Run Derby at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington. After participating in the first round, Free took questions from reporters, but because his contract was the main topic being discussed, it lasted for just over a minute.
Free turned in a disappointing 2012 season, which included leading the team in penalties, and the Cowboys are asking him to take a pay cut on the $7 million salary he’s due to make in 2013. When asked about a reduced salary, Free responded, “I don’t know anything about it. I’m really not here for that.”
“Really nothing to talk about, right now,” Free said. “There’s a lot going on and stuff, but I’m just happy to be here.”
Over the last two seasons, Free has allowed 16.5 sacks and had 23 penalties enforced against him. Due to his poor performance, Free split time at the right tackle position with Jermey Parnell during the final month of the 2012 season. Cowboys executive vice president Stephen Jones mentioned last month that Free improved while splitting reps with Parnell. But Jones also said that Free’s future with the franchise is “to be determined.”
Asked Wednesday if he plans on being with the Cowboys for the 2013 season, Free said, “You never know what might happen.”
Both the Cowboys and Free are in a difficult position. If Free declines to take a pay cut and the Cowboys release him, the free agent market doesn’t look like it will be friendly to either. Teams looking to add an offensive tackle will likely not be willing to pay Free close to his current salary.
For the Cowboys, the alternative options continue to dwindle. Dallas has showed interest in free agent offensive tackle Eric Winston (Kansas City) and had been interested in Tyson Clabo (Atlanta), but he signed with Miami over the weekend.