The Cowboys enjoyed big contributions from several recent draft picks last season. But while less-experienced players are already stepping up, 2019 2nd-Round pick Trysten Hill hasn't really made his mark yet for the team. Will the young defensive tackle even make it to his fourth season in Dallas, or might he be released this offseason?
Hill struggled as a rookie, reportedly clashing with then-Defensive Coordinator Rod Marinelli and having issues with effort and work ethic. He only played in seven games and was a healthy scratch most of the year.
Things were looking better in 2020 as Trysten, forced into a starting role by injuries to Gerald McCoy and Neville Gallimore, started making some impact plays for the front line. Unfortunately, a torn ACL in Week 5 ended Hill's season quickly and delayed his debut last year.
In 2021, Hill was finally activated in November but was now a low man on the DT totem pole. Gallimore, veteran Carlos Watkins, and rookie Osa Odighizuwa had established their value and were now commanding the majority of the snaps.
All of this leaves Trysten in a precarious position for the 2022 offseason. Gallimore and Odighizuwa are both ideal for the same 3-tech role up front that Hill is. Plus, with only one year left on his contract, Trysten's can be released for about $1.16 million in cap relief with only about $390k in dead money.
With the Cowboys trying to find salary cap space in their couch cushions this offseason, Hill may not see the end of his rookie contract.
Had Trysten shown more as a rookie and built on it in 2020 then Gallimore and Odighizuwa might not even be on the roster. Dallas has spent 3rd-Round picks in the last two drafts to add Neville and Osa, neither of whom might've been taken if Hill had been able to establish himself.
Now those guys have seemingly equal, if not superior, potential and more years left on their contracts. The Cowboys will hate giving up on a former 2nd-Round pick after just three years, but their cap situation and Trysten Hill's low production since joining team may not leave the much of a choice.