HOUSTON - SEPTEMBER 26: Running back Marion Barber #24 of the Dallas Cowboys is lifted up by Doug Free #68 after scoring in the second quarter as Chris Gronkowski #44 looks on against the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium on September 26 2010 in Houston Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
This could be the big outside free agent signing for the Bucs this season: an offensive tackle. According to Jason Cole of Yahoo! the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Dallas Cowboys are 'in a dogfight' over Cowboys LT Doug Free. The Dallas Cowboys lack cap space, while the Bucs have the most cap space and most cash to spend of any team in the league. The Cowboys cut a number of players earlier this season to clear some cap room, but if the Bucs are willing to spend there's basically no way the Cowboys can compete.
The Bucs need help on the offensive line in a major way. Re-signing Davin Joseph would be one piece of the puzzle, but Doug Free could be the other piece of the puzzle. With Donald Penn at LT the Bucs have a decent left tackle, but James Lee is a below-average but not bad starting right tackle.
Doug Free on the other hand is one of the best right tackles in the league, and can also play left tackle. Before the 2010 season, Free was the Cowboys' starter at right tackle and one of the best run-blocking tackles in the league. In addition he was a very good pass-blocker at RT, so good in fact that the Cowboys decided to move him to left tackle for the 2010 season after they released Flozell Adams. He was inconsistent as a pass blocker, but got better as the season went on.
If the Bucs do sign Doug Free he should step in at right tackle and be a quality starter from day one. There is even a small chance that Free pushes Donald Penn at left tackle, though that seems unlikely. While the Cowboys used him at left tackle last season, their first-round draft pick Tyron Smith is expected to be their long-term starter at that position.
Signing Doug Free would be a major boost for the Bucs' offensive line, will significantly help the Bucs' running game. Free is miles better than Trueblood and significantly better than Lee at pass blocking. In addition to all that, he's also 27 years old and has plenty of good years ahead of him.