The most maligned player coming out of the Dallas Cowboys 2017 season was offensive lineman Chaz Green, whose epic meltdown against the Atlanta Falcons was the worst moment of the year. Despite this, Green remains on the roster and apparently not at the bottom of it.
With Guard Zack Martin not reporting to OTAs yet during his contract negotiation, it has been Chaz who's been playing in his place at right guard with the starters. Yes THAT Chaz Green, not veteran guards Joe Looney or Marcus Martin, has been getting that first-team work.
If that surprises, confuses, or disturbs you, you're not alone.
You can't blame the organization for wanting to get something out of Green, given that he was a third-round pick just three years ago. But his time in Dallas has been full of disappointment, both in his play and his ability to stay healthy.
Chaz is now in the final year of his rookie contract. He counts just $877k against the salary cap, which is a bargain for a versatile reserve with experience.
But not all experience is good.
Dallas clearly knows they don't want Green as the swing tackle anymore, signing veteran free agent Cam Fleming to a $2.5 million salary to take over that role. But apparently they're still hoping to get something out of Chaz in this final year of his deal.
Dallas has two guys with more experience at guard than Green; the aforementioned Looney and Martin. “Jumbo Joe” has been in the system for two years already, and Marcus was signed last March as a versatile guard-center option.
Giving Chaz this early work may not be an indication that team prefers him to Looney or Martin. They may be assessing him at guard to see if he has any future there before training camp begins, knowing if they really want to invest more time in him in the coming months.
But still, when you hear that Green is getting first-team reps, it's a cause for pause.
Chaz already failed to make it at guard once, losing out to Jonathan Cooper at left guard last year. Dallas will likely go with rookie Connor Williams there this year, but perhaps Green will get some more looks if the second-round pick struggles.
Of course, Zack Martin should be back as the right guard soon. But if his contract holdout continues into training camp, maybe we'll see even more of Chaz in the starting lineup.
Obviously, we'd love for Chaz Green to turn things around and make a positive impact on the team. But so far he's been a blown third-round pick and had one of the ugliest individual performances in recent memory last year.
He's still alive, though, and perhaps closer to the starting lineup than we'd have ever guessed.