There has been speculation for months about the future of Ken Hamlin and Flozell Adams with the Dallas Cowboys. That all ended this morning. The Cowboys have officially released both players. While I am not at all shocked by the move I am scratching my head at the timing.
The Cowboys are going younger at left tackle with Doug Free and/or possibly an early draft pick. The Cowboys have seen enough of Ken Hamlin to realize that they can get a suitable replacement if his primary duty will be lining up 20 yards off the ball and keeping everyone in front of him while never making a play on the ball. I see the logic in both moves. I really do.
But why release both guys before the draft when it wasn't necessary? I think the Cowboys have put themselves at a disadvantage on several fronts. Teams now now without a doubt that the Cowboys will be targeting offensive tackles and free safeties early in the draft. The flexibility that we all thought the Cowboys had entering the draft is not what it was before the day began.
And what about the contract negotiations with Gerald Sensabaugh? You know his agent was thrilled at the news of Ken Hamlin's release. The Cowboys can't afford to let Sensabaugh go anywhere now. The RFA tender they placed on him will probably bring him back next year, but the Cowboys would be wise to get him under contract. They can't afford to go into the season with new starters at both safety positions.
We all saw what Doug Free did in his time filling in for Marc Columbo. He was excellent. But we haven't seen much from him on the left side. And the small sample we got in the Minnesota game didn't exactly make any of us feel warm and fuzzy. Now getting thrown into the situation unexpectedly like Free did in Minnesota was no easy task, but I would have expected a little more. Clearly the coaches and management of the Cowboys feel like Free can do the job either permanently or until a high draft pick is ready to take over.
Flozell is clearly on the decline as a player. His tripping penalties came last season due to his loss of mobility and quickness. He was holding and tripping to make up for the fact that he was getting beaten off the ball by his man. But I really thought the Cowboys would try to milk one more season out of Flozell unless they found a young stud in the draft.
I don't mind cutting either guy. I really don't. There is nothing wrong with getting rid of an overpaid, aging veteran like Flozell Adams. And the fact that the salary cap is gone temporarily opened the window for the perfect moment to unload the ridiculous Ken Hamlin contract. I just do not understand the timing.
I'll bet Doug Free and Alan Ball are going to have a new attitude when they show up to work on Monday. Both guys have a golden opportunity to get on the field regardless of what happens in the draft. Let's hope the moves to unload veterans this offseason pay off like they did last season.