The fact that former Cowboys left tackle Flozell Adams remains an unsigned free agent should speak volumes to anyone who suggests that Jerry Jones is making personnel decisions based solely on finances.
Of course finances play a part in every personnel decision -- even in an uncapped year. After all, Jones has a business to run. But some view the Adams release as an example of Jones putting cutting costs ahead of getting results. They're unwilling to accept that Adams' replacement Doug Free might actually be better in 2010 than Adams was in 2009.
While cutting Adams will indeed save the Cowboys $7.5 million, I find it impossible to believe that Jones would risk his franchise quarterback's blind side and therefore the entire upcoming season if the team wasn't absolutely convinced that Free could protect Romo from the most dangerous speed-rushing QB killers in the NFL, at least as well as Adams.
Releasing Adams made sense financially, but it also made sense on the field.
The truth is that Adams, at 35, is not anywhere near what he once was. Based on his continued availability, there isn't a team in the league that believes that he could start for them at left tackle. So why should the Cowboys?
Despite the fact that Free makes Dallas nine years younger at the position, costs just a fraction as much as Adams, and proved his value filling in for Marc Colombo at right tackle last season, many suggest that there should have been an open competition for the starting job during camp.
Those folks are missing the point. There was a competition. Free won it. He just did it in early April without even having to pop on his shoulder pads. One is on the roster and one is not. Competition over.
Adams will likely catch on as a back up somewhere at a reasonable expense if he still wants to play. But his days of being the king of the o-line are over. I don't know Adams personally, but that reality might be hard to swallow for a guy who is used to getting one of the biggest paychecks in the team stack.
Instead of having a potentially dissatisfied back-up making $7.5 million, the Cowboys went out and got younger there, too by trading for 27-year old swing-tackle Alex Barron. I dont have a problem with any of it.
Those who expected Jones to spend wildly in an uncapped year have been served a warm plate of disappointment. Instead of wearing a George Steinbrenner costume and "making it rain" in a prison rules style payroll environment; Jones has instead opted for an off-season of shrewd maneuvers.
As each day passes and Adams remains without a starting left tackle gig in the NFL not to mention a new team at all, Jones looks smarter by the minute. Both on the field, and on the payroll ledger.