Cowboys rookie Offensive Tackle Matt Waletzko has a shoulder injury from last week which will likely require surgery. How long will Waletzko be out and what does this mean for Dallas' depth at the position? Could it lead to a free agent addition?
Waletzko is one of the top candidates to be Tyron Smith's backup at left tackle; a critical role given Smith's age and injury history. The 5th-round rookie has the athleticism for the role but was far from a shoo-in, needing considerable work on his technique to earn the team's confidence.
According to coach Mike McCarthy yesterday, Matt's shoulder should need surgery but there's still a chance that he could play through it this year.
Even if Waletzko can play through it, Dallas might prefer to go with other options to fill the backup job. One of those is Josh Ball, a 2021 4th-round pick, who will get every opportunity to step into the role as camp continues.
Another in-house option is 1st-round rookie Tyler Smith. While likely starting at left guard in 2022, Tyler is widely considered the eventual replacement for Tyron Smith at left tackle. He could be the emergency option now, sliding left and allowing Connor McGovern to play guard in a pinch.
Over the last several years Dallas has generally employed a veteran tackle as Tyron's backup. From Cam Fleming to Cam Erving to Ty Nsekhe, the Cowboys have rarely entrusted such a critical role to an inexperienced player.
It seemed that Dallas was content to let the winner of the competition between Josh Ball and Matt Waletzko handle the job. But if Waletzko is now out of the running, the Cowboys could look to free agency to add another contender to the mix.