The team isn't about to blink, however. NFL.com's Ian Rapoport reported Tuesday on "Total Access" that the Cowboys are playing hardball, asking Free to take a "substantial" pay cut of more than $2 million.
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Although a release will count $10 million against the salary cap, the Cowboys can apply half of that total to next year's cap if the transaction comes with a post-June 1 designation.
In short, the Cowboys are drawing out the process, realizing Free has little leverage of his own. The longer the decision looms, the fewer options Free will have on the open market to make up the difference in salary.