The potential free agent acquisition of Offensive Tackle Jason Peters has been the talk of the town the last few days. If the Dallas Cowboys do end up signing the veteran, is he just here to play a backup role as the swing tackle or could he be quickly moving into a starting job?
Like OSU's Mike Gundy used to be, Peters is 40 years old. The longtime left tackle for the Eagles, who went to nine Pro Bowls and was a six-time All-Pro during that run, was a 15-game starter for the Bears in 2021. Despite his advanced age, Jason still graded out solidly in his work for Chicago.
After Tyron Smith's unfortunate practice injury and the expectation that he'll be out until December, if not the entire year, Cowboys Nation has been in a tizzy over the left tackle spot. While 1st-round pick Tyler Smith played it in college and has incredible potential, his inexperience and penchant for penalties seem especially concerning at the most critical position on the offensive line.
With Matt Waletzko missing time injured and Josh Ball clearly ill-suited to play left tackle this year, none of Dallas' depth options could inspire confidence. Tyron Smith's injury left Dallas with only one viable in-house option; moving Tyler Smith to left tackle after spending the offseason getting him ready to play guard. Connor McGovern would move up to LG and Dak Prescott would hopefully develop some strong spidey senses.
Earlier this week we heard that Jason Peters, after sitting home this offseason and waiting for the right opportunity, was coming to visit the Cowboys. So far, it sounds like that visit has gone very well.
I’m told Jerry Jones/Dallas staff were encouraged w/Jason Peters’ physical condition.
His signing would allow #Cowboys’ rookie Tyler Smith to stay inside at guard + learn from one of the best ever to do it.
— Jordan Schultz (@Schultz_Report) September 3, 2022
— Michael Gehlken (@GehlkenNFL) September 2, 2022
A person with information on the Cowboys talks with Jason Peters said if anything official happens it would occur on Monday. Cowboys have to make a roster move to make space for Peters.
— Calvin Watkins (@calvinwatkins) September 2, 2022
At the very least, Peters' arrival will bolster the depth at offensive tackle and give Dallas a viable backup on the left side. We will likely see Josh Ball waived and moved to the practice squad to make room for the veteran, leaving Waletzko as a developmental prospect on the roster.
But could this move be for more than just depth? Despite his age, could Jason Peters be coming to fill in for Tyron Smith as the starting left tackle?
Again, Peters' play last year for Chicago was more than adequate. He's not an elite left tackle anymore like during his prime days in Philly, but last year he was far from one of the worst starters in the league.
Didn’t really know what to expect watching Jason Peters play last night. SF GB NYG. Pass blocking was better than run but not to the point that he was a liability. His mass/strength give defenders problems. If overall health checks out could have a role with the club.
— BryanBroaddus (@BryanBroaddus) September 1, 2022
Even if the Cowboys' goal is for Peters to eventually start it probably won't happen against Tampa Bay. Peters will need time to learn the offense and may need more than one week to be ready for the role. We should expect Tyler Smith and Connor McGovern to start in Week One.
That could still be the plan for the season, but the idea of getting “your five best guys on the field” can't be ignored. This isn't just about how good Tyler Smith is or isn't at left tackle but also how effective McGovern is as a starting guard. The key is making the starting five as strong, or at least solvent, as possible.
Adding Jason Peters, which is starting to sound more eventual than possible, creates options the Cowboys wouldn't have had otherwise. The team hasn't said officially what their intention is for Peters' role once signed, but don't be surprised if he's working with the starters in practice sooner than later.