The Cowboys have seen a lot of coming and comings over the last few weeks. Though we're still early in the 2022 offseason, the left guard position is glaring as Dallas' biggest weakness about a month before the upcoming NFL Draft.
The initial waves of free agency helped clear up some things at other roster spots. The Cowboys had well over 20 free agents, mostly unrestricted, and some positions like defensive end, linebacker, and safety were facing heavy losses.
But then we started to see players coming back; Jayron Kearse, Leighton Vander Esch, Dorance Armstrong, Malik Hooker, and other defenders getting re-signed. We also had a new addition in DE Dante Fowler to help supplement the loss of Randy Gregory to the Broncos.
On offense, TE Dalton Schultz got the franchise tag while WR Michael Gallup got a brand new deal. Even with Amari Cooper being traded to Cleveland and RT La'el Collins getting released, Dallas still has options to cover those spots with the promotion of Terence Steele at OT and signing free agent receiver James Washington to help round out the top three.
In all of this player movement there's on position that sticks out for a lack of positive news. With Connor Williams moving to Miami in free agency, left guard is now a gaping hole in the offense line without a satisfying option for 2022.
Connor McGovern is the current frontrunner to take over. He started four games in the middle of 2021 when Dallas benched Williams for his excessive penalties. But after the Cowboys went 2-2 during that stretch, the starting job went back to Williams for the remainder of the season.
McGovern has looked much better on the right side than left, replacing Zack Martin a couple of times over the last two years. But after his failure to impress at LG last season, how much can Dallas really trust Connor in 2022?
One could hope in “third-year development” for McGovern next season. Remember, he missed his entire 2019 rookie season with a torn pectoral that even knocked him out of the preseason. He was essentially a redshirt and has only had two real years of NFL experience.
However, the Cowboys are already putting a lot of faith in player development at other spots on the offense line. They're hoping that Terence Steele will build on his perceived potential as he replaced La'el Collins at right tackle. Dallas is also counting on Tyler Biadasz to take a leap forward at center.
With Tyron Smith's notorious health issues a concern at left tackle, can the Cowboys afford to take another gamble on the spot between him and Biadasz?
This is why you're seeing 2022 prospects like Kenyon Green and Zion Johnson landing with Dallas in mock drafts. McGovern hasn't inspired confidence and an immediate upgrade with long-term potential could be a worthy use of the Cowboys' 1st-round pick.
There are still intriguing veteran option in free agency as well. Experienced starters like Laurent Deuvernay-Tardif, Will Hernandez, and Trai Turner remain unsigned. The longer they stay on the market, the cheaper they should become for the miserly Cowboys.
True, left guard is hardly the only issue left to address on the roster. There are still some big concerns in terms of depth at WR and TE, finding a run-stopper at DT, additional LB help, and replacing Greg Zuerlein at kicker. Thankfully the Cowboys still have the entire 2022 Draft and cap space to help.
But right now, if the season started tomorrow, left guard would worry me most. Dallas needs to get back to dominating up front both to increase run-game efficacy and help keep Dak Prescott's pocket clean. Connor McGovern has given less reason for optimism than Tyler Biadasz or Terence Steele, and thus his position should now be the Cowboys' top priority.