For even the most casual observer, it is clear that the Dallas Cowboys need help on both sides of the line of scrimmage. While there is good depth to the 2013 draft, especially at the teams most needed positions, it is highly unlikely that they can plug all the holes with immediate impact draft picks. That leave free agency as the remaining source of new talent. Henry Melton has been suggested as a prime target to fill one of the key openings, and for most of us that would be the ideal solution. Unfortunately, I do not see it as being a likely solution due to the cap challanges Dallas faces. In addition, I do not see a situation where the Bears can afford to let Melton get away. On the positive side there is another option for the Cowboys to sign an impact player and free up a draft slot to use on another position of significant need
Flying somewhat under the radar, at left guard is Andy Levitre of the Buffalo Bills. The first guard off the board in the 2009 draft, Levitre has quietly proven to be one of the better players at his position. Since his rookie season Andy has shown consistant improvement each year. He has started all 64 games of his professional career, including three games at left tackle during 2011. For the 2012 season Levitre graded out as the ninth best offensive guard in the league according to Pro Football Focus, and he is the highest rated guard in free agency this season. They also consider him to be the number 13 free agent on the market this year.
The biggest strength that Levitre brings to the table, and something that would endear him to Cowboys fans, is that he is a very good, if not quite elite, pass blocker. Not only has he proven effective at preventing heat up the middle, but during his stint playing left tackle Andy gave up just one sack in 106 passing attempts. Impressive for anyone, much less for a guard playing out of position, it becomes even more so when you consider that during that three game period he faced both Brian Orakpo and Demarcus Ware. Levitre is also a good blocker out in space. He is the guard that Buffalo likes to pull to lead their outside running game and he does a fine job on screen plays. He also has proven the ability to get to the second level. The biggest weakness to Andy's game is that he is not a traditional road grader. He is at best a average 'inside the phone booth' blocker.
With offensive line play being an issue across the league, why would the Bills be willing to let one of the leagues best guards and their most productive lineman get away? They did open negotiations with Levitre and the team's other free agents prior to the start of the past season, but the Buffalo front office has declined to make offers to any of them. From his comments to various sources that cover the Bills, this has led Andy to feel that it is in his best interest to seek out greener pasters. According to our SBN sister site, Buffalo Rumblings, Bills fans have resigned themselves to Levitre's 65th consecutive start being made in another team's uniform. It is highly unlikely that Buffalo would be willing to use the $9.7 million dollar franchise tag on a guard.
Signing Levitre would fill one need that the Cowboys have, and if they do use one of their 2013 picks to bring in another guard, he would be a solid mentor for the rookie. Signing him would also free up a draft pick that could be used to upgrade another position of need. At 27 years old Andy Levitre could be a solid piece of the offensive line for several years to come. Blocking for Tony Romo and DeMarco Murray could also bring Levitre the recognition needed to help him earn a ticket to Hawaii for his efforts.