Progress is being made between the owners and players on a new collective bargaining aggreement, according to multiple reports.
One issue that has supposedly already been decided is that players with four years experience will become unrestricted free agents. For the Cowboys, that means that tackle Doug Free and ends Stephen Bowen and Jason Hatcher will be free.
The Cowboys had given Free the top restricted free agent tender with draft pick compensation of a first and third round pick. Bowen and Hatcher received second round tenders.
Now all will be able to test the market and possibly sign with another team without the Cowboys getting anything.
Vice-president Stephen Jones has said on more than one occasion that re-signing Free was a huge priority.
The problem now is how much you sign him for considering they drafted Tyron Smith in the first round to play left tackle if not this year than in the near future.
Free played left tackle for the Cowboys last year and would draw considerably more money on the free agent market as a possible left tackle. The Cowboys will likely have to pay Free left tackle money to keep him.
The problem at defensive end is just as serious for the Cowboys, who just have one veteran end under contract in Igor Olshansky. The Cowboys had hoped to bring both Hatcher and Bowen back with the restricted free agent tender.
Now it's possible they could lose both, as well as former starter Marcus Spears who is already and unrestricted free agent.
The Cowboys need to add at least two veteran players at the position whether it's one of these three or a combination of one and someone from the outside.
Clarence E. Hill Jr.