The Dallas Cowboys’ offensive line in 2019 may be as deep as it’s ever been. But with several players capable of working at multiple positions, could the team wind up keeping fewer guys at final cuts? If so, who may be the odd man out?
Of course, we’re not talking about Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick, or Zack Martin. We’re also not referring to Connor Williams or Connor McGovern, recent draft picks with valuable, inexpensive years left on their rookie deals.
La’el Collins will almost certainly be back as the starting right tackle, and Cameron Fleming is locked in as the swing tackle behind him. We may see Collins depart in 2020 free agency, but that’s a conversation for down the road.
Those seven players are all but guaranteed for the 2019 roster, which narrows our focus to Joe Looney and Xavier Su’a-Filo. The Cowboys would need to keep nine total offensive linemen for both to make the team, but that’s where things get interesting.
Joe Looney’s strong play last year as the starting center should keep him around. That gives them Looney and McGovern as interior line backups, plus La’el Collins’ experience playing guard.
Do they really need Su’a-Filo at that point?
Plenty of teams have carried nine linemen before, but that means losing a roster spot somewhere else. Is an extra guard worth having to cut that extra guy at receiver, defensive line, or in the secondary?
Xavier was solid in his relief of Connor Williams’ last year. But he doesn’t give you the versatility of Looney or the upside of McGovern. Either he or McGovern likely wouldn’t be active for many games.
The Cowboys can move guys around in any emergency situation. Someone standing on the sideline in street clothes isn’t useful then.
We don’t know that Dallas won’t keep nine guys, rendering this topic moot. But given some of the projections at other positions it’s easy to see why they would want to save roster spot by going shorter on the offensive line.
The versatility of their talent gives the Cowboys options. Unfortunately for someone, and likely Xaver Su’a-Filo, that option could mean they’re not making this team.