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Cowboys playing a dangerous game of risk/reward with several projected starters in 2022

Cowboys’ glass half-full approach to 2022 is a little concerning.

Dallas Cowboys v New York Giants Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images

In a game where physicality, strength, speed, and even a little bit of brains are pivotal aspects each individual player needs to possess, it means absolutely nothing if that said player can’t stay healthy. No one wants to carry that “injury prone” label in the NFL, and yet, it’s sometimes unavoidable. It’s just part of the business, whether we like it or not.

Believe it or not, but the Dallas Cowboys look to be playing a dangerous game of risk/reward this year. We all know them as a team who like to gamble a little bit by taking risks with how they construct their roster, however, it’s possible they may have bitten off more than they can chew this year, especially as it pertains to players with injury concerns.

Going by the Cowboys protected starters heading into the 2022 season, there are several on both sides of the ball who have known, and concerning, injury histories over the past few years. Today, we’re going to identify those players and categorize them by the severity of their injuries to get a better understanding of the risk/reward game Dallas is playing.

Projected starters who have sustained season-ending injuries since 2020

  • LB Jabril Cox
  • WR Michael Gallup
  • DT Trysten Hill
  • FS Malik Hooker
  • QB Dak Prescott
  • LT Tyron Smith

It does raise a conern that the Dallas Cowboys have half a dozen projected starters who have sustained season-ending injuries in it just a short two-year span. On top of that, one of them is the starting quarterback. The one player on the entire team whose play has the most impact on whether the season is successful or not. Yikes! It’s absolutely depressing to think about reliving the 2020 season again without Dak Prescott.

Even if you were to subtract No. 4 from the equation, losing just about any one of the six players mentioned above could have a negative domino effect to the roster in 2022. Due to the positions they play and the lack of depth behind them, it’s extremely concerning to envision what the team will look like if the next man up has to start. All we can do is cross our fingers and pray each one of them is 100% healthy and remains so this year.

Projected starters who landed on injured reserve since 2020

  • OC Tyler Biadasz
  • DT Neville Gallimore
  • DE DeMarcus Lawrence
  • RG Zack Martin
  • LB Leighton Vander Esch

Landing on injured reserve isn’t always necessarily a bad thing. In Tyler Biadasz (hamstring) and Zack Martin’s (calf strain) case, they only spent about a month on IR in 2020 before returning to the team. But, on the flip side of that there are players like Neville Gallimore (elbow), DeMarcus Lawrence (foot surgery), and Leighton Vander Esch (broken collarbone, etc.) who missed a substantial amount of time because of their injuries.

All five of these players are expected to play vital roles on both offense and defense for the Dallas Cowboys this year, and losing them for any amount of time could be the difference between success and failure this season. With a little luck though, the somewhat minor injuries setbacks are behind them and 2022 sees them remain healthy for the entire 17-game season, and hopefully the postseason as well.

How concerned are you about the risk/reward the Dallas Cowboys are playing with injured players this year?