Let's talk about Doug Free
Free, Free... Free.
Let me just say that I don't expect a lot of people to agree with me when I say what I'm about to say... but that's what I have always loved doing anyways... Out of the box thinking.
In the past I have lightly touched upon the topic of Free going back to Right Tackle. Then after the season, I mentioned that I think he's the final solution for us at Left Tackle and that his early season struggles were just a part of his transition to the left and getting comfortable there. So you could say, I've been waffling on my stance. RT? LT? which?
Well I read something interesting that made me think that Free is best suited to be our future RT, and now... I think... I'm convinced.
In run blocking Free was statistically, the TOP #1 run blocker in the league. In pass blocking he was 15th allowing our QB to get knocked to the ground 12 times this past season.
Free may be a new starter to our OL, but he's no young buck. He's already 28 years old. He's not gonna give us a decade worth's of work at the position, like you would say about a Top OL draft pick coming into the league at 22 or 23 years old.
RT is typically not a position you want to draft high. Especially at the 9th pick. However, LT would be... and it would be a smart choice assuming you don't draft a bust.
These things considered, I just wouldn't put it out of the realm of reason to move Free back to RT. I think his dominance in the run game would be well utilized. I think his pass protection deficiencies would be subdued, with the QB facing his direction instead of having him on the blind side. I think we would get the most out of him at RT AND that it would benefit our team the most.
However, we can't do that without a proper replacement for him at LT. It seems to me that most people are in agreement that we need a replacement for Columbo at RT immediately. But where most get confused is where that replacement will come from. I think it should be Free. I think others are thinking the draft.. and a very few might be looking at FA... even less than that looking at trade.
If we think out of the box for a moment and look at the big picture of things... the long term future of the team... and combine Free's strength's, weaknesses and age, then the smart decision is to move him to the right and look aggressively for a LT solution.