[In this series, we’ll take a look at the additions and subtractions at every position on the Dallas Cowboys roster. We’ll compare where the Cowboys were to where they currently sit and ask the ultimate question - did the Cowboys improve or not? In other words, do you feel better about the state of the roster going into the 2018 season?]
LT Tyron Smith- started 13 games, Pro Bowl selection
LG Jonathan Cooper - started 13 games, signed one-year $4.95 million with 49ers
C Travis Frederick- started 16 games, Pro Bowl selection
RG Zack Martin- started 16 games, Pro Bowl selection, Second-Team All-Pro
RT La’el Collins- started 16 games
SWT/G Chaz Green- 14 games played, four starts
T Byron Bell - 12 games played, two starts (free-agent)
C/G Joe Looney- 16 games played (re-signed)
G Kadeem Edwards- Practice Squad
LT Tyron Smith
LG Connor Williams- drafted 50th overall
C Travis Frederick
RG Zack Martin - finalized six-year extension through 2023
RT La’el Collins
SWT Cameron Fleming- signed one-year, $2.5 million in free agency
G/T Chaz Green
C/G Joe Looney re-signed two-year deal worth $2.5 million
G Marcus Martin-signed one-year veteran minimum deal in free agency
G Kadeem Edwards
G Damian Mama
G Dustin Stanton
T Jake Campos- UDFA
T Bryce Johnson- UDFA
It’s easy to look at the problems that the Cowboys had last season on offense and say that Ezekiel Elliott’s absence made things difficult. However, the absence of Tyron Smith also played a large role in the offense not being able to function. Not only did the Cowboys suffer some of their most lopsided losses of the season but the offensive line allowed Dak Prescott to take 14 sacks in 12 days.
Though the Cowboys pressed on with a “next man up” mentality, they had absolutely nothing behind Smith that could keep Dak feeling safe during live action. The Cowboys made a significant change this offseason by making sure that their offensive line took precedence once again.
By signing Cameron Fleming in the offseason, the Cowboys have a swing tackle that has played in big games including the Super Bowl. Fleming will back up both spots at tackle and serve as a far superior insurance policy to that of Chaz Green or Byron Bell from last season. At this point, you have to consider the fact that Tyron Smith will miss a game or two each season, making the swing tackle position an important one for the Cowboys.
The Cowboys also decided to let Jonathan Cooper explore other options which left a hole at starting left guard. When you are as good as the Cowboys seem to be when it comes to drafting offensive linemen, why not continue to capitalize on that talent? The Cowboys did just that when they were able to land Connor Williams at 50, who was arguably a first-round talent.
Drafting a left guard also assured that the Cowboys will be able to keep La’el Collins at right tackle where he impressively took on some of the NFL’s most fearsome pass rushers and held his own. The Cowboys really like to have position flexibility but continuity is key to offensive line success.
In other offensive line news, the Cowboys extended their All-Pro right guard Zack Martin. That puts all of their starting five under contract for the near future. Now that the Cowboys shored up their offensive line, they have made certain that Ezekiel Elliott and company will have another shot at the rushing title in 2018.
Conclusion: The starting five is as impressive as it gets in today’s NFL but you have to like the signings they made as well. Outside of Cam Fleming, they brought in Marcus Martin, who could start at guard in a pinch as well as “Jumbo” Joe Looney to remain a backup at center. Looking at this unit, you have to feel great about where they are now compared to where they were last season. There is no doubt they improved on the offensive line.
Did the Cowboys improve their offensive line in 2018?
This poll is closed