Cowboys Drop Two Veterans

Dallas let go one starter from each side of the ball. Both players were carrying high salaries. Their eventual replacements could come from this year's draft.

The Dallas Cowboys released OT Flozell Adams and FS Ken Hamlin, the team announced.

"Having a left tackle of Flozell Adams caliber has been a luxury for the Dallas Cowboys for the past 12 years. That position (left tackle) is one of the most difficult to play and one of the three or four most important spots on an NFL roster. Throughout our entire time here with the Cowboys this franchise has been blessed to first have Mark Tuinei and then be able to plug Flozell right in there as a second round pick in 1998," owner and general manager Jerry Jones said.

Adams, who was the team's second round draft choice (38th overall) out of Michigan State in 1998, earned five Pro Bowl selections in his 12 seasons with the Cowboys. While with the club, he started 178-of-182 games played, missing just four starts as a rookie in 1998 and was placed on Reserve/Injured in 2005 with a torn right ACL after Week Six. For his career, he also has four blocked extra points and three blocked field goals.

"I have never experienced what it is like to have a team that doesn't enjoy excellent play at the left tackle position. When we first selected Flozell, we thought we would move Larry Allen to left tackle, but that never happened because Flo was able to step right in and play at a high level very early on in his career. We just put him in there and never looked back.

There are two other things that are very impressive about Flozell. Two things that a lot of people might not know. First, he cares very much about the game and has tremendous dedication to his profession. He approached every day with the Cowboys with a deep sense of personal pride in himself and the job he did. He was always prepared. Second, he is simply one of the most intelligent players we have ever had with this organization in the past 21 years.

We will always be grateful for his outstanding durability, dependability and contributions to this team. I don't know that you could ask for any more than what Flozell Adams gave to the Dallas Cowboys for 12 seasons," Jones said.

Adams carried a $5 million base salary for 2010 and had a $2.5 roster bonus due in June. He was signed through 2014. Adams, who turns 35 next month, clearly was on the decline, sources said. Being without a salary cap made it much easier to release him. The remaining $6.49 million bonus proration past this season goes away. Adams also had $2 million roster bonuses due in each of the following three seasons, so the issue of whether he would remain with the team would have risen again.

Fourth-year OT Doug Free is first up to replace Adams, but it's believed the team will also select a left tackle in this year's draft to compete for the vacancy.

A seven-year NFL veteran, Hamlin spent the last three seasons with the Cowboys where he recorded 268 tackles. In 2007, he earned his first career Pro Bowl selection, after posting his first career 100-tackle season (102), good for third on the team and recording five interceptions to tie for second on the team and ninth in the league. He missed four games in 2009 with an ankle injury.

"Ken Hamlin was a key contributor on a defensive unit that helped the Cowboys win two division championships in his three seasons with the team. He is a smart player who was valuable to us in playing the role of the quarterback in the secondary. We appreciate what he brought to this team—and this defense—as a solid player and a competitor," Jones added.

Hamlin, like Adams, carried a big contract. He was signed through 2014 and carried a base salary of $5.596 million for 2010. Alan Ball is expected to at least temporarily replace him in the starting lineup. Hamlin had $4.5 million in bonus proration left on his contract which will go away without the salary cap this season.

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