With former All Pro starting center Travis Frederick announcing his retirement this offseason, the Cowboys have big shoes to fill in the middle of their offensive line.
Dallas did go out and draft Wisconsin center Tyler Biadasz this April and they have former third round pick Connor McGovern coming off an injury prone rookie season as well. Plus, “Jumbo” Joe Looney signed a one year extension with the Cowboys to stick around for the 2020 season.
All of this interior line depth means we are headed for some serious competition, but the lack of a normal offseason may force teams to lean heavily on their veterans during position battles like these.
Mike McCarthy spoke to this a bit this week, stating that with Connor Williams still not a full go at left guard, McGovern was taking first team reps beside center Joe Looney.
Mike McCarthy: Left guard Connor Williams is still coming off injury so he’s not a full-go to start camp. Joe Looney is taking first-team center snaps. Connor McGovern is getting the work at left guard
Looney, who started all 16 games for the Cowboys in 2018, certainly has the experience needed to fill the role in 2020. The Cowboys’ plethora of young interior offensive linemen has led others to speculate that Looney could be used as trade bait, however.
Bleacher Report released a list of the most likely trade candidates for each NFL team, with Joe Looney making the list for Dallas.
“Several teams are in need of a versatile interior lineman, and Dallas has 2019 third-round pick Connor McGovern as a backup at guard and rookie fourth-round pick Tyler Biadasz waiting in the wings at center.
If Biadasz pries the starting job away from Looney, the Cowboys should attempt to cash him in on the trade market.”
Their logic here is sound, but with Looney getting first team reps on day one it’s hard to expect drastic changes across the offensive line this season. As I mentioned earlier, this is a weird offseason, one where we won’t see the same position battles work themselves out throughout training camp and preseason games.
Instead these coaches will have to lean on the guys who have done it before. This doesn’t mean that Biadasz and McGovern may not be future starters on this team, but 2020 is a tough time to try to win a job.