By Mike Fisher | @fishsports

IRVING – The Cowboys have retained one of their most important free agency pieces not named “Dez Bryant,’’ locking up right tackle Doug Free to a three-year contract, Dallas COO Stephen Jones tells me.

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The Saturday morning agreement allows the Cowboys to keep intact one of the best offensive lines in football, with Tyron Smith, Ronald Leary, Travis Frederick, Zack Martin and Free set to return together.

Free, 31, missed five games last year with foot and ankle problems but underwent surgery on the ankle this offseason.

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Free absorbed a pay cut in 2013, dropping his base salary to $3.5 million in each of the last two years. We believe this deal will pay him in the $5-mil-a-year range.

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