About a month ago, Cowboys Right Tackle Terence Steele received a second-round restricted free agent tender from the Dallas Cowboys.
This meant that the Cowboys would have the opportunity to match any long-term offer sheet from another team, and if they chose not to, they would receive a second-round pick in this year's draft as compensation for losing Steele.
The fourth-year tackle had until this past Friday to sign the deal. He did so a day before, on Thursday.
Terence STEELE'S STATUS
Terence Steele is currently rehabbing from a torn ACL and MCL he suffered in early December. According to Dallas Cowboys Executive Vice President Stephen Jones, Steele is expected to be ready by training camp.
Of course, the term “ready” may be somewhat open to interpretation.
According to reports, Steele's injury required reconstructive knee surgery. Medical and fitness experts contend that recovering from that type of procedure for an ACL alone should take 8-10 months.
It could take a year or longer to feel “normal” after such an injury, procedure, and rehab.
There has also been talk of Terence Steele being a swing tackle or playing at the left guard position when he returns.
This was off-putting to many fans who see Steele as being the most impactful when he's in the right tackle position.
The difference in the Cowboys' run game was noticeable without Steele in that spot.
Speculation has surfaced that the possibility of moving Steele to different positions could be an attempt by the Cowboys' front office to suppress his value as a player.
Should that happen, it could make negotiations easier for the Cowboys as they attempt to get him on a long-term deal.
There is also speculation that floating the idea of using Steele at left guard is just an attempt by the Dallas Cowboys to disguise their intentions ahead of the 2023 NFL Draft which is less than a week away.
WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS FOR TERENCE STEELE
Regardless of the reasons for the rumors, many predict that Steele will ultimately end up playing predominantly at right tackle as he's done for most of his three-year professional career.
Tyron Smith is expected to start at the right tackle position until Steele returns.
Considering Smith's injury history (played in 17 of 49 possible games), especially compared to Steele's availability (played in 40 of 45 games), it's probable that Steele will be needed at right tackle.
Terence Steele's long-term future is still being worked out, but one thing is certain — he has proven his value and worth as an offensive lineman.
In 2020, he was an undrafted free agent from Texas Tech. Now, he's a difference-making starter on a team that is positioning itself for a deep playoff run.
In three seasons, Steele has established himself as one of the most effective players on the Cowboys offensive line.
The Dallas Cowboys' moves during the upcoming draft should provide even more insight into where Steele will be once he returns.
Several drafts analysts believe the Cowboys should and likely will draft a left guard with their first-round pick.