Sports Outside the Beltway

Cowboys Re-Sign Gurode to Six Year Deal

Andre Gurode got off to a slow start but a Pro Bowl year has earned him a big contract extension.

Free agency might not start until March 2, but the Cowboys got a head start Tuesday morning by re-signing center Andre Gurode to a six-year deal.

Terms were not readily available, but suffice to say the Cowboys had to give last season’s starting center enough financial incentive to prevent him from testing free agency, especially since he was considered one of the top two centers heading into the market.

Gurode started all 17 games last season and was a late addition to his first Pro Bowl. He was one of two offensive line priorities the Cowboys had heading into the off-season, the other being right tackle Marc Colombo, who also was a 17-game starter. Colombo, after battling serious knee injuries for several years, surprisingly performed well while starting more than five games in a season for the first time in his career. The Cowboys likely will turn their attention toward the five-year veteran.

But the signing of Gurode was key, especially since the Cowboys really didn’t have another alternative at center. While Al Johnson had started at center the two previous seasons, he too is scheduled to become a free agent. It would seem unlikely the Cowboys would now commit serious financial resources to keep him on the team.

A smart and necessary move for the Cowboys. It’s a mighty thin free agent crop this year and most teams are flush with cap room, owing to the terms of the new labor deal signed last offseason. Most likely, however much they overpaid for Gurode would have been exceeded on the open market.

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