FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – As the first week of NFL free agency wrapped up on Monday, the doors at Valley Ranch kept revolving.
The Cowboys continued their “Changing of the Guards” off-season game plan with the release of 33-year old veteran Kyle Kosier, who started 80 of a possible 96 games since signing with the Cowboys as an unrestricted free agent in 2006.
Kosier played much of the 2011 season with a painful foot injury, and he suffered a knee injury in the season ending loss at the New York Giants.
With the release of Kosier, the Cowboys have made an 80% makeover of their starting offensive line since July. Aging veterans Andre Gurode, Marc Colombo, and Leonard Davis were cut last summer, while unrestricted free agents Montrae Holland and Derrick Dockery have left this spring.
Dallas signed offensive guards Mackenzy Bernadeau (Panthers) and Nate Livings (Bengals) in the first week of free agency. Those two veterans are expected to have the inside track ahead of 2011 draft picks Bill Nagy and David Arkin to become the starting guards this year.
Tyron Smith, the team’s 1st round draft pick last year, will move from right tackle to left tackle in 2012, switching spots with 6th year veteran Doug Free. Phil Costa is penciled in as the starting center for the second straight season. Center Kevin Kowalski and tackle Jermey Parnell are expected to compete for backup roles.
However, the team may deem a 1st round selection to be too rich for a guard, a position that is generally not considered to be a premium one. In that case, middle to late round offensive line possibilities include Miami, Ohio’s Brandon Brooks (6-5, 346 – a projected 3rd round pick), Auburn’s Brandon Mosley (6-5 ½, 314 – 3rd round), Illinois’ Jeff Allen (6-4, 307 – 4th round), South Dakota’s Tom Compton (6-5, 314 – 4th round), Oklahoma’s Donald Stephenson (6-6, 312 – 4th round), SMU’s Josh LeRibeus (6-3, 312 – 5th round), and Mississippi State’s Quentin Saulsberry (6-3, 305 – 5th round).
Follow Bill Jones on Twitter @cbsdollarbill
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