Cowboys plan to release Doug Free unless he takes a pay cut, per report

Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Dallas have given its right tackle and ultimatum.

The biggest issue for the Dallas Cowboys during the 2012 season was the play of the offensive line, and Jerry Jones has not been shy about addressing it this offseason.

In addition to spending a first-round pick in the 2013 NFL draft on Wisconsin guard Travis Frederick, Jones is holding the current members of the Cowboys' offensive line accountable for their play. Jones has asked right tackle Doug Free to take a pay cut, according to ESPN Dallas. If Free refuses, the Cowboys plan to cut him after June 1.

Free struggled as the team's starting right tackle in 2012, proving to be a weak spot on the team's line throughout the year. That was never more evident than in the team's Week 11 win against the Cleveland Browns in which Free had a hand in four sacks on Tony Romo.

Working in the Cowboys' favor is the fact that the right tackle market has developed slowly thus far in free agency. The Bengals didn't sign Andre Smith until draft weekend, while Tyson Clabo and Eric Winston remain unsigned. Dallas appears content to bring Free back but only if the price is right.

After signing Romo to a lucrative contract extension this offseason, Jones and the Cowboys need to take any measures possible to keep him out of harm's way for the foreseeable future.

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