The Dallas Cowboys have a lot of question marks throughout their roster this offseason, but the guard position might be their most stable. Last year’s starters will be back in 2019, as should several quality depth players still under contract.
The fixture of all fixtures, Right Guard Zack Martin, is arguably the best player on the entire team. He’s been to the Pro Bowl in every one of his five NFL seasons, plus made 1st or 2nd-team All Pro each year. He’s signed through the 2024 season and is currently the highest-paid guard in the NFL.
Barring any kind of restructuring, Martin will count about $14-$15 million against Dallas’ salary cap for the next six years. That’s a lot for any offensive lineman, and especially one who doesn’t play left tackle. But as long Zack keeps playing at an elite level then the Cowboys aren’t going to balk at that pay rate.
Any concerns about the guard position are over on the left side. Last year’s second-round pick, Connor Williams, started 10 games and was showing improvement throughout the year. The team has high hopes for him in 2019 after a full offseason of physical development and further training at guard, which he didn’t play in college.
Williams temporarily lost the starting job last year after an injury allowed Xavier Su’a-Fulo to start, which coincided with the team’s mid-season turnaround. Dallas kept Su’a-Filo as the starter even for a few games after Connor was healthy enough to play.
When Zack Martin had to sit out a few December games with a knee injury, Williams was back in the starting lineup at right guard. His play had improved from earlier in the year, and eventually the team gave him back the starting job at left guard for the playoffs.
While the team is certainly committed to seeing a high pick like Connor Williams succeed, they should still let Su’a-Filo compete for the starting job this offseason. He was also a former second-round pick and was signed by the Cowboys in September, making 2019 his first offseason with Dallas.
Either way, Dallas should have an improved starter at left guard from last year and a quality depth option. That’s a nice position to be in, especially if it doesn’t require you to make any offseason moves.
In fact, Dallas is loaded with interior line depth right now.
Joe Looney, while we may think of him more as the backup center, is capable reserve at guard. Some might wonder if he shouldn’t be allowed to compete for the starting spot at LG also, given how well he played last season.
Dallas also still has Parker Ehinger, a former fouth-round pick who they traded for last year. Ehinger has battled injury issues throughout his career, which also recurred with the Cowboys.
Still under contract as well is Adam Redmond, who Dallas signed to be the backup center once they realized Travis Frederick would be gone. He also has the versatility to play guard.
Given all these in-house options, there’s little reason to think that the Cowboys will make any signings or even spend draft picks at guard this offseason. They have Zack Martin locked up for the next six seasons and spent a second-rounder last year on Connor Willians. Even the rest of depth chart is filled out with some solid, experienced players.
With much other work needed this offseason, Dallas will enjoy not having to worry about their guards in 2019.