Travis Frederick’s March retirement shocked Cowboys Nation.
The All Pro caliber center had battled back from a horrible disease, fought his way back into football, and earned Pro Bowl honors his first season back.
It was supposed to go up from 2019, not just end.
Instead, Frederick decided it was time to move on from the game, a decision I respect immensely given the stakes at hand. But from a football standpoint, the Cowboys now have some questions to answer across their offensive line.
First, of course, is who will be their starting center this September?
Dallas could go a few different routes when it comes to replacing Frederick. Maybe Connor McGovern can kick over from guard to center to solidify the interior of the line. Maybe they’ll look to draft a center this April, though the class doesn’t look too promising and they do have more pressing needs.
Or, maybe the 2020 starter is the same guy who held the job down in 2018.
Joe Looney and the Cowboys agreed to a one year deal a few weeks ago, keeping him around for this important 2020 campaign. Looney started all 16 games in 2018 while Frederick was out, delivering some solid play especially as the season went on. No, he was not Travis Frederick, but he was definitely better than most could have hoped for considering the circumstances.
Now that he is back on a one year deal, and the Cowboys are dealing with the COVID-19 crisis when it comes to workouts and player acquisition, Looney’s experience and familiarity with the other four starters could come into play. I could see the Cowboys using Joe Looney as a bridge guy for the 2020 season, before they go out and look for a longterm option at center next offseason.
Is that the best case scenario? Probably not, but it would keep the Cowboys’ offensive line in pretty decent shape.
The more important story across that line will by Tyron Smith’s health, as you hope you can get another 14+ games from the veteran to keep the high end talent on this offensive line intact.