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Doug Free takes pay cut to stay with Dallas Cowboys

Doug Free was paid like a Pro Bowl offensive tackle by the Dallas Cowboys last year, but he played like a guy who might not have a long career as a starter. The Cowboys have seen the error of their ways.

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Free has accepted a pay cut to remain with the team, according to NFL.com's Ian Rapoport. Free initially had been set to earn $7 million this season. With his new deal, Free will get $3.5 million this season, followed by another $3.5 million next year. 

Free would have counted more than $10 million against the cap without a restructure.

ESPNDallas.com's Calvin Watkins first had the story.

Free's future has been an open question all offseason, with owner/general manager Jerry Jones openly admitting that Free's status was uncertain. After not taking a tackle in the 2013 NFL Draft, it seemed clear that Free would not be moved inside to guard. Now the two sides have settled on a compromise.

This marks yet another misadventure by the Cowboys in self-scouting. They overpaid Free, and then were forced to change course. Jones often hypes his own players, and then he winds up paying for it.

Follow Gregg Rosenthal on Twitter @greggrosenthal.

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