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Cowboys free agency review leads to strange speculation about the offensive line and trades

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Cowboys free agency left turn.

NFL: Minnesota Vikings at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Every once in a while, a specific take on the Cowboys comes from so far out of left field, you just aren’t sure what to make of it. That’s what happened recently when ESPN was doing an article about “free agency buzz” on all 32 NFL teams. They called execs around the league for insights on each team.

Going in, it was expected this article would talk about the Cowboys rebuilding their defensive line in the mold of what new defensive coordinator Mike Nolan wants. Or perhaps it would cover the talent the Cowboys let walk like Byron Jones. You could even talk about the Cowboys keeping Amari Cooper and Dak Prescott and how much that would cost the team. Finally you could speculate about free agents they still might go after, as we did here.

All of those things, and more, seem like decent “free agency buzz” fodder for an article. But, instead, we got this:

Dallas Cowboys

Level of free-agency aggressiveness: Moderate

Top addition: WR Amari Cooper for five years and $100 million

Dallas’ vaunted offensive line will be watched closely by the rest of the league. All-Pro Travis Frederick’s retirement was a shock to the system. But even before that, there was some buzz in league circles that the Cowboys were taking a hard look at a position group that carried a $53.243-million cap hit, second only to the Raiders.

The star-studded line could generate plenty of trade value if the Cowboys want to go that route. The most tradeable asset is left tackle Tyron Smith, whose $13.545-million cap hit in 2020 is modest for a player of his skill. He has four years remaining on a deal that pays between $10 million and $13.6 million in salaries. But Smith is still really good, so that might be a non-starter for Dallas.

Regardless, the Cowboys must navigate a win-now window with minimal free-agency options at center and a quarterback on a $30.044-million franchise tag. Front-office creativity will be necessary.

Honestly, I didn’t see that take coming. Maybe this was something that was “floating” around before the Travis Frederick retirement and is totally out of the picture now. Even so, pre-Fredrick retirement, there seemed to be little appetite for the Cowboys to trade one of their stud offensive linemen. When I discussed this with my colleague RJ Ochoa, he wasn’t buying it either, but he did come up with this potential line if they traded Tyron Smith as is mentioned in the article.

LT: La’el Collins
LG: Connor McGovern
C: Joe Looney
RG: Zack Martin
RT: Connor Williams

That line would be a far cry from the one the Cowboys have rolled out in recent years. Of course, if they traded Smith they would likely augment the line with a high-draft choice.

Obviously the Frederick retirement is going to be a hit to the line, but maybe that is already the salary cap reduction for the future the Cowboys were looking for along the offensive line, if they were ever even interested in that.

Coincidentally, Jeff Cavanaugh of 105.3 recently discussed a mock draft that included a Tyron Smith trade only because someone suggested he do so. In that case, one of the prominent left tackles had fallen to the Cowboys, Andrew Thomas, so he picked him at #17, and then suggested they got a very early second-round pick for the Smith trade, which he used to take Antoine Winfield, Jr.

Cavanaugh makes it clear he wouldn’t do this trade, but just gamed it out since someone asked him to do it.

So over to you BTB. Can anyone make a case for doing something like this, or do you think ESPN is just talking crazy?

Poll

Would you trade Tyron Smith for a late-first/early-second 2020 draft pick?

This poll is closed

  • 69%
    No way, you kidding? He’s under contract at a reasonable rate.
    (2989 votes)
  • 30%
    Yes, it’s time to revamp the line, especially with Smith’s injury history.
    (1319 votes)
4308 votes total Vote Now