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2021 Offseason: Did Cowboys Get Better or Worse at Offensive Line?

The are hoping that getting All-Pros back from will solve most of their problems from 2020. But if health concerns continue among the starters, did movement give Dallas better or worse depth for the upcoming season?

You know, painfully well, how bad it got for the Cowboys last year. missed the whole year, all but two games, and was out for six games and parts of others. There was also turnover at and even the newly-signed swing , veteran Cam Erving, wasn't around at times to help.

Dallas appears locked with their starting five now: Martin, Collins, Smith, Connor Wiliams, and . Barring some surprise during camp or , you can expect these to be your first-team offensive line for  Week One.

That alone will be an improvement from last year given how much time the starters missed or played hurt. Plus you should have Biadasz growing in his second season and Williams giving max effort in a contract year.

But what if the returns of Collins, Martin, and Smith aren't as glorious as we hope? We've heard this “healthier than ever” talk before when it comes to Tyron; what if 2021 is another sign of his slow decline? And what if something bad happens elsewhere on the line?

2021 Offseason Movement at OL

The Cowboys (and 31 other teams) have allowed a valuable depth piece in Joe Looney to remain unsigned in . He's not a star but Looney's proven he can step in and perform. such as in 2018 when he played all year in 's absence.

We expect 3rd-year prospect to step into the Looney role as primary backup at and center. He did so last year and wasn't awful, though it was hard to look good with the chaos throughout the line and as a whole.

At , Dallas let Cam Erving walk after one season as the backup. The replacement may be another veteran in 35-year-old Ty Nsekhe, but he will be competing with , , and rookie Josh Ball for spots on the OT .

Dallas released versatile G/C Adam Redmond shortly after the draft and likely because they'd added rookie Matt Farniok in the 7th round. He also has position flexibility and could fight his way onto the roster with that attribute.

Looney, Erving, and Redmond were hardly great players but all were experienced and serviceable. While Nsekhe or perhaps even Ball can make up for Erving's loss and Farniok can probably give us whatever Redmond did, losing “Jumbo Joe” hurts. The line was much stronger with both him and McGovern as depth options.

Yes, the overall play of the line will improve tremendously with our big-three starters all returning healthy. But this is about offseason movement; those players were already here last year. This a question of players lost versus players added, and right now I can't see that we added anyone who currently presents the same value as Joe Looney.

Hopefully, everyone stays healthy this year and it doesn't matter.

Final Verdict: WORSE (slightly)

Jess Haynie
Jess Haynie
Cowboys fan since 1992, blogger since 2011. Bringing you the objectivity of an outside perspective with the passion of a die-hard fan. I love to talk to my readers, so please comment on any article and I'll be sure to respond!

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Cowboy Fan Ed

If we have injuries along the OL it won’t take long to see how stable our OL is! I’m a firm believer that if an Organization ever figures out to quit paying a few players Multi million dollar contracts and invest in the OL and DL then they can win with less talented players at skill positions and will win more games! If a QB doesn’t have time to throw the ball or a running back doesn’t have holes to run through they can’t be successful at their position! The bottom line is that the game is won on the line of scrimmage!!


Yeah, I like Joe, but I think he is better in the locker room than between the white lines. Teams cannot sign star OL AND continue to extend their backups as well, especially when those backups are merely just serviceable. They end up just being expensive progress stoppers.

This team does that too much, never allowing many draftees and UDFA’s an opportunity to outplay their acquisition cost.

There is a long list of such players, with D Wilson being the most recent. We still haven’t seen Bernard or Gifford take a defensive snap, while we kept Lee, Thomas, and Witten beyond their expiration dates. That is basically 5 wasted roster spots.

These are the reasons this team has not excelled in 25 years. We used to trust our talent evaluators more and play em early and often. Think Jimmy. That is the difference.

Put the young cheap guys out there and give them a chance to become stars or flame out and move on. You will have a club that plays with greater energy and effort, which should translate into more success and a better cap.

Gary b

Good post Sam.

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