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Cowboys Position Battle Evaluations: Offensive Line



Cowboys Blog - Cowboys Position Battle Evaluations: Offensive Line

Coming off a year when three of the starting Offensive Lineman went to the Pro Bowl, along with those same three making All-Pro Teams (Zack Martin, Tyrone Smith, and Travis Frederick); with Frederick being the lone second team All-Pro, you would believe the Offensive Line would be set going into the Regular Season. Well, the starting lineup is.

Yet, quite a few questions remain regarding the quality of depth along the line. Left Tackle to Right Tackle will again be:

  • Tyrone Smith
  • Ronald Leary
  • Travis Frederick
  • Zack Martin
  • Doug Free

La'el Collins, whom many thought would take Ronald Leary's position at Left Guard, simply has not shown that he is ready for a starting nod. I never thought he would walk in and start on a unit that had become one of the best, if not the best in the NFL. He needed to be clearly better than Leary; despite Leary missing a lot of Training Camp with injuries, Collins was not able to capitalize on the additional reps. While he has shown improvement through camp, the idea of him supplanting Leary was quickly put to rest.

Other than those six, I see the following making the Final 53:

  • Darrion Weems
  • Mackenzy Bernadeau

Weems did nothing else during Training Camp other than make me wish that third round draft pick Chaz Green was healthy. I have seen very little that should leave Offensive Line Coach Frank Pollack comfortable with Weems being the primary Swing Tackle. He has made numerous mistakes with his technique in pass sets. He also has not blown anyone off the ball with his run blocking with any consistency either.

The team could carry anywhere from eight to ten on the Offensive Line on the 53.

Weems' performance leads me to believe the team will call on Will McClay after the final cuts to see if they can claim another Tackle that could be the primary backup at one of the positions while Weems strictly backs up at the other. I am not comfortable enough with his work to feel he can carry the workload that he would need to prepare for both Tackle positions.

Bernadeau is a reliable Guard who has also received some work at Center. I would be shocked if he was not kept around, especially after starting in place of Zack Martin against Minnesota. While he is a step down in talent from both starting Guards, he is reliable enough to step in and give a solid effort if needed.

That leaves a discussion for Shane McDermott and Ronald Patrick to see which can make the Practice Squad. Both have worked at Center, I have personally seen more out of McDermott who they may keep on the 53. McDermott has been one of the only decent performers when we get to the third string and beyond Offensive Line unit.

Then finally a decision comes down to John Wetzel and Laurence Gibson at Tackle. There is a chance they may place Wetzel on the 53 and cut him after if they can claim an upgrade at Tackle. He was better than RJ Dill, but that is not a roaring endorsement of his camp performance, as Dill was honestly awful.

Gibson has been a project for Offensive Assistant Marc Colombo, he improved through Training Camp but is looked at as a developmental project. I feel if it came down to he or Wetzel on the Practice Squad that they would choose Gibson.

While the starting Offensive Line is set, there still remains quite a few questions around the depth behind them.

This is the most likely position to see an addition made to after the final cuts, while we all hope for the health of the starters, they will make sure the depth is improved before the opener against the New York Giants.

Avid Cowboys fan that will provide analytical analysis to the Draft, Film, and everything related to the team. You can find me @TheRealSmoothG on twitter.

Dallas Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys Have Missing Piece at Offensive Line

Jess Haynie



Dallas Cowboys Have Big Hole on Offensive Line
Tom Fox/The Dallas Morning News

There are a lot of positions being talked about right now for the Dallas Cowboys. Upgrades are needed at several spots, but one critical position needs even more than that. Left guard is completely unmanned, and that could be a big problem for the 2018 offensive line if it's not addressed soon.

Last year's starter, Jonathan Cooper, is currently an unrestricted free agent. So are backups Joe Looney and Byron Bell.

Right now, Chaz Green is the only other non-starter under contract who has any NFL experience at left guard. Nobody wants to see him on the field next year.

Dez Bryant may be a big topic but at least he's under contract. The same goes for safety, where we at least have options to turn to if free agency or the draft don't yield anything.

Left guard, though? The cupboard is bare.

La'el Collins' Position Flex Could Come in Handy for Cowboys

Dallas Cowboys OT La'el Collins

One option could be to move La'el Collins back to guard, where many feel he has the most upside, and then find a new right tackle. But that would be changing two positions to fill one hole, and Collins was playing well at tackle by the end of the year.

And obviously, we don't want to see Chaz Green playing that spot either. Or any spot. Ever.

No, at this point it makes sense for Dallas to leave Collins where he is and either sign or draft a starting LG. The question is how much do they want to invest?

The Cowboys are already shelling out big bucks to Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, and Zack Martin. Even Collins counts about $7 million against the cap. They have three first-round picks already tied up in the offensive line.

Some thought veteran free agent Josh Sitton would be a nice option, but he got picked up by the Dolphins today for about $8-9 million per year. That's more than Dallas can afford given their limited cap space and other needs.

No, the LG in 2018 is going to need to be a salary cap bargain. That means either re-signing Jonathan Cooper or Joe Looney on the cheap, or perhaps paying a rookie salary to a high draft pick.

Last year's 19th overall pick, O.J. Howard, counted just $2 million against the Bucs' salary cap in 2017.

There are some older veterans who could be cheap band-aid options, such as Matt Slauson or Evan Smith. But you don't get very far down some lists of available guards before you see Jonathan Cooper's name, and continuity is always a plus.

The point here is don't expect any big move, even with the enormity of the need. Dallas will likely reach an agreement with Cooper after he's tested the free agent waters a bit, assuming nobody else scoops him up.

If not, the need at left guard will become increasingly dire the further we get into the offseason.

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Player News

Dallas Cowboys Restructure Travis Frederick’s Contract, Clear Cap Space

Sean Martin



Travis Frederick

Patience is a virtue for football fans everywhere this time of the year, especially those of the Dallas Cowboys. A team known for using free agency to deal with their own expiring contracts and players, Cowboys Nation has been anxiously awaiting an addition to improve this roster before the draft. While the wait will continue for outside help in Dallas, the Cowboys have created $7.5 million in cap space by restructuring the contract of Center Travis Frederick.

Jane Slater on Twitter

C Travis Frederick will restructure his deal to help clear up roughly 7.5M in cap space for the #Cowboys per source informed

Restructuring the contracts of their cornerstone players is nothing new for the Cowboys. Rarely doing so with a clear "next move" in sight, the market for top FA talent at WR and OL may have already passed the Cowboys.

Having the space to negotiate with available players now opens the door just slightly further for Earl Thomas or Tyrann Mathieu acquisitions to become realistic. Reportedly, the Cowboys have inquired about both safeties (Thomas via popular trade talks and Mathieu as a free agent, released by the Cardinals) and have been met with price tags the Jones' were forced to turn away.

Giving up assets for players that will warrant large future contracts is not currently the Dallas Cowboys' way, but being able to sign somebody in free agency has been. To avoid a repeat of 2017, a season arguably derailed as soon as the team's free agent class failed entirely, the Cowboys will need to find proven players that can contribute on the market in the coming weeks.

With the help of the anchor to their star-studded offensive line, the Cowboys can come to this market with slightly thicker wallets now. Keep the optimistic tweets alive, and tip Travis Frederick accordingly.

Tell us what you think about "Dallas Cowboys Restructure Travis Frederick’s Contract, Clear Cap Space" in the comments below. You can also email me at, or Tweet to me at @SeanMartinNFL!

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Player News

Cowboys Place 2nd Round RFA Tender on DL David Irving

Jess Haynie



David Irving

One of the more anticipated Cowboys free agency moves has finally happened. Defensive lineman David Irving has been given the 2nd-round Restricted Free Agent tender, which would result in a $2.91 million contract for 2018.

David Moore on Twitter

Source: the Cowboys have used a 2nd round tender on DT David Irving. The cost is $2.91 million.

If another team offers Irving a contract, that would have to send their 2018 second-round draft pick to the Cowboys.

There was no doubt that Dallas would extend an RFA tender to Irving, one of the bright young stars on their defense. The question was at what amount; they could have gone with the $4.1 million tender which raises the compensation to a first-round draft pick.

With a difference of only about $1 million, some might argue that the Cowboys went lower to entice other teams to try to sign Irving. Perhaps they don't foresee giving him a big long-term deal next year, so want to get something for him now.

It's a logical argument, and one that means there may be more to this story before the offseason ends. For now, though, David Irving's closer to remaining a Cowboy than he was yesterday.

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