The next in a series of posts looking at each position group on the Dallas Cowboys roster, and determining just how much of a priority it will be this offseason. (The links to the rest of the series at the bottom)
Position Group - Offensive center
The Cowboys have an excellent starter at the position in Travis Frederick, but what about behind him? What would happen, God forbid, if Frederick was hurt and they needed a replacement? That’s the intrigue around this position group.
Travis Frederick, Joe Looney
Travis Frederick - Not much needs to be said about Frederick except that’s he’s awesome. He just finished off another Pro Bowl appearance and has received numerous first- and second-team all-league awards over his time. He’s started every game since he’s been drafted, showing off his durability. He’s the leader on the offensive line and makes all the blocking calls and adjustments. Simply put - he’s one of the best centers in the league. And to think people laughed and mocked the Cowboys when they drafted him in the first round of the 2013 draft.
Joe Looney - Looney has primarily been used as a guard or in “jumbo” packages, but he’s also the backup center. The Cowboys have not had to use him at the spot in a real game thanks to Frederick’s durability. The problem for the Cowboys is that Joe Looney is a free agent. Just how much they value his ability to back up Frederick is going to play into the effort they exert to re-sign him.
Offseason Priority - Low
The center position is obviously not a position of high priority for the Cowboys. Since there is only one center on the field, and he plays the whole game, you are essentially worried about a backup as long as you have a stud like Frederick. But the Cowboys do need to figure this out. They could decide to go with a high draft pick at the guard position to replace Jonathan Cooper, and perhaps have that player also be the backup center. They could look at free agency to accomplish the same trick, or they could just re-sign Looney and continue having him be the primary backup at guard and center.
How the Cowboys play the left guard position could end up affecting how they deal with backup center.