"I really had no clue what was going to happen the whole time," Free told Dallascowboys.com. "I kept it wide open. You never really know what's going to happen. I kept the options open and realized I can't control everything."
Free's future with he team had been in question the entire offseason before the Cowboys decided to keep him at a reduced rate -- cutting his $7 million base salary to $3.5 million for 2013.
He led the NFL with eight false start penalties last season and was tied for fourth with six holding calls. It wasn't the type of season you want from a starting lineman, which is why he shared playing time with Jermey Parnell toward the end of the season.
It appears Free and Parnell will compete for the starting job in training camp this summer.
"Anytime you're competing against a guy, you're going to either step it up to the next level or fade away," Free said. "Just every day, I'm going to come out and do my best and try to stay positive about the whole deal. Anything I can help Jermey with, being an older guy, I'm going to try and help him. Anything I can do to make the team better is what I'm here for."