You know you understand the Dallas Cowboys’ approach to free agency when you’re still talking about Byron Bell, and that is exactly what I’m doing after fellow Staff Writer Kevin Brady scouted the newly acquired offensive tackle right here.
The contract info for veteran Byron Bell’s one-year deal with the Cowboys has been released, and it includes an interesting bit of information when it comes to his status with the team as it pertains to projected starting right tackle Chaz Green and potential backup Emmett Cleary.
If Bell, who started at least 12 games with the Carolina Panthers from 2011-2014 as both a left and right tackle before spending 2015 as a 16 game starter (at three positions) for the Titans, can play 75% of America’s Team’s snaps along their star-studded offensive line he will earn an additional $500,000 on top of his $1 million base salary.
This task will not be easy for Byron Bell, particularly considering he missed all of 2016 with a knee injury. When on the field, he has the size, experience, and versatility to make him a perfect fit for a backup spot on the Cowboys’ offensive line – but is their room for him to ascend from this position and replace Doug Free as a starter?
To do so, Bell will more-than-likely have to earn the spot over Chaz Green. The 2015 third-round pick out of Florida saw his first starting action in four games this season, filling in admirably for the best left tackle in the NFL in Tyron Smith. The Dallas Cowboys clearly have an outstanding eye for talent with offensive line prospects, and added Chaz Green for depth in 2015 – seeing the benefits of the pick firsthand this season.
@BryanBroaddus what do you think Chaz greens potential really is at RT if he stays healthy. Like av starter, above, elite?
Above average. https://t.co/tlKIDnir6F
Now, entering his third year, the opportunity for Green to become a starter has presented itself. Only able to take advantage of this opportunity if available for it, the Cowboys were smart in not only signing Byron Bell but giving him the same contract incentives that Jonathan Cooper earned on his deal for 2017.
Both Cooper and Bell help the Cowboys cement the fact that their offensive line is their lifeblood, and should be for a long time. Doing so as backups for now though, it’s not hard to see Jason Garrett’s culture of competition creep onto the depth chart at RT in the upcoming summer months.
While Jonathan Cooper may be stuck behind La’el Collins and Zack Martin, Byron Bell is looking for a fresh start to his career with added motivation to beat out Chaz Green and Emmett Cleary.