Is it time for the Cowboys to replace Flozell Adams at left tackle?
ORLANDO, Fla. -- On some afternoons, Cowboys left tackle Flozell Adams is still among the best in the league. But those afternoons aren't as frequent as they used to be. Adams, 34, is certainly a declining player at this point in his career, and he attempts to make up for it by tripping players and jumping out of his stance early. I think the Cowboys can get one more season out of Adams, but it's time to start thinking about his long-term replacement.
High-ranking members of the organization have indicated to me recently that re-stocking the offensive line is the highest priority in next month's draft. But there are some within the organization who believe that Doug Free is capable of taking over for Adams soon. If Adams struggles early in the 2010 season, don't be surprised if Free becomes his permanent replacement. The Cowboys loved how Free played at right tackle when Marc Colombo was injured for half of the '09 season. They know that Free lacks Adams' brute strength, but he's already a better foot athlete, which means he operates well in space.
I think quarterback Tony Romo gained a lot of trust in Free last season, which is an important step in the process. The Cowboys are also excited to find out whether former third-round draft pick Robert Brewster can bounce back from a torn pectoral muscle. Coach Wade Phillips told me Monday that Brewster is one of the players from the '09 draft who everyone's curious about. He's being projected as a right tackle, so the Cowboys potentially have replacements at left and right tackle in the fold. But that won't keep them from trying to upgrade. It wouldn't surprise me if the Cowboys stay at No. 27 and take the best offensive tackle or guard available.
And if Adams falters this season, Free will be ready to go. This transition could take place a lot sooner than most folks think.