The Dallas Cowboys have the best offensive line in the NFL, but right now it’s in some trouble.
Travis Frederick has been diagnosed with Guillain Barre Syndrome. Zack Martin is coming off of a bone bruise. On Thursday La’el Collins had a limp. Thankfully La’el looks to be fine, but the need for depth is obviously growing.
Suddenly the Cowboys are looking at potential realities where they have to rely on Joe Looney and/or Chaz Green. Needless to say we’ve slept more comfortably than we will over the next few days.
It’s important to remember that the Cowboys have a new offensive line coach, Paul Alexander. He’s new because he used to coach for the Cincinnati Bengals, who the Dallas Cowboys just played, and Cincy might be ditching one of their current centers some time soon - T.J. Johnson.
Our friends at Cincy Jungle seem to think Johnson could be a casualty of roster trimming for the Bengals, and while the Cowboys missed out on a certain former member of that team maybe Paul Alexander will look to his past to find some help for his future. From SB Nation’s Rebecca Toback:
He’s never been given too much of a shot in Cincinnati as he was the backup to Russell Bodine who the Bengals inexplicably loved. Bodine also never missed a start in four years, so Johnson got almost no playing time, save for a few snaps here and there. Not being able to beat out Bodine doesn’t bode well for him, but that really could have been the Bengals being stubborn and refusing to admit Bodine was bad. This year, the Bengals drafted Billy Price in the first round and he’s set to start at center. There’s more of a priority toward having more guys who can play guard/tackle on the roster as backups so the team is planning for guard Trey Hopkins to also serve as the backup center, which will eliminate the need for Johnson to remain in Cincinnati. By all accounts, it seems he’s headed toward being cut on Sep. 1
We have no idea what the status with Travis Frederick is going to be tomorrow, a week from now, or a month from now, but the reality is the Cowboys may be in need of a center and Joe Looney is only one man. T.J. Johnson is someone who he has familiarity with that he could potentially bring in if the Bengals do cut him.
This idea would only start to make sense if the Cowboys feel the need to get some help specifically at center, and obviously that is contingent upon what happens with Frederick. Joe Looney is a capable option should things get to that point, but Dallas will need depth at some point down that hypothetical road, and Paul Alexander is a fan of Johnson.
Bengals OL coach Paul Alexander on Johnson: “TJ has raised his level of play every year he’s been with us. He is smart, tough and reliable"— Katherine Terrell (@Kat_Terrell) March 17, 2017
As of now T.J. Johnson is still on the Cincinnati Bengals, but it’s somewhat probable that he won’t be soon. Should the Cowboys call his number if/when that day comes? As noted, that’ll have a lot to do with Travis Frederick, and perhaps a lot to do with Paul Alexander.