With the NFL Draft, free agency, and of course the ongoing playoffs, providing so much for fans everywhere to focus on, it can be easy to forget that recovery is one of the most critical aspects of every team’s offseason. After the grind of a 17-week season, the Cowboys are recovering — both physically and mentally — as they slowly turn their attention towards building their 2018 roster.
Starting RG Zack Martin and DT Maliek Collins are both expected starters at their respective positions next year, and both players are now coming off of offseason surgery.
Zack Martin, whose name will remain in headlines through the spring as the Cowboys look to sign their franchise RG to a long-term deal, underwent successful elbow surgery. This will cause Martin to miss this month’s Pro Bowl, which he was named to for the fourth time in four years.
LT Tyron Smith is also not expected to play in the Pro Bowl.
In what was an inconsistent season for the Cowboys’ offensive line in performance, health, and cohesiveness, Zack Martin and this minor procedure should be the least of Dallas’ worries. The expectation is, of course, that #70 will be just fine to lead the way for Ezekiel Elliott moving forward, and likely paid considerably more by the time he takes the field again.
For DT Maliek Collins, it was surgery on his left foot that was minor enough to wait until the offseason — although the injury did appear for Collins on the team’s weekly injury reports throughout the season.
With David Irving effectively losing his 2017 season — a four-game suspension followed by a lingering concussion — Collins was asked to play more of the 1T position in his second season with the Cowboys.
Overcoming a broken foot from his rookie training camp to flash real potential as a 3T in 2016, expectations for Maliek Collins had to be tempered once he transitioned to the less “glamorous” 1T spot.
Defensive tackle is not a position the Cowboys have invested in heavily during recent years, so monitoring the health of Collins, while deciding where he best fits Rod Marinelli’s scheme, will be important as we approach the draft.
Like Martin, Collins should also be available for April’s return to work for the Dallas Cowboys.