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Here are all of the ways the Dallas Cowboys can go about replacing Tyron Smith

Exploring all options Dallas can pursue to replace Tyron Smith.

NFL: Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Dallas Cowboys Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

It is reality. The Dallas Cowboys will play a majority of the season without Tyron Smith. It was reported on Thursday that Smith will undergo surgery to address his avulsion fracture and that the “hope” is that he can return in December.

All told the Cowboys have 11 games before the calendar will read December so time will tell what they look like if and when Smith does return. The Cowboys are reportedly operating under the presumption that Smith will return this season which is a bit of an irresponsible way to go about things. The unfortunate truth here is that he is now going to have missed at least some time in seven straight seasons when this is all said and done. Counting on him, and this is said in no way to call out him by any means, is not possible.

Ultimately, the Cowboys have to come up with a plan and they need to do it rather quickly with the team playing a regular season game in just over two weeks.

Here are all of the practical ways that they can go about replacing Tyron Smith.

Sign a free agent or trade for a veteran to play left tackle specifically

It was just over two weeks ago that Smith had an injury scare during joint practices with the Denver Broncos which caused fans to ponder life without him, the same life that would come to fruition shortly after as we obviously know. At the time David Howman wrote here about six free agent options at left tackle for the Cowboys to consider. It remains to be seen if they will do that.

Dallas signing Free Agent X to play left tackle is the most simple answer to replacing what they are losing in Tyron Smith. Someone like Jason Peters makes sense given his experience at the position, but there are obviously other names worth considering. This path is arguably the most stable as it does not ask anyone else to do anything differently.

Kick Tyler Smith out to left tackle

The Dallas Cowboys spent their first-round pick on Tyler Smith for a reason and they obviously envision him as the left tackle of the future. You can argue that the future is now, but the trouble is that Smith is currently dealing with a minor injury (he’s fine, but still) and that he has seen no serious work at the left tackle spot through camp and the preseason.

This season is supposed to be one where the Cowboys seriously challenge for a world championship. On the surface it is difficult to see how they can do that with a rookie playing left tackle but obviously stranger things have happened in NFL history.

In this scenario the Cowboys would effectively have to replace two linemen as Smith would be playing tackle and not guard. Dallas could opt to have Connor McGovern (who has been competing with Smith) at left guard or instead look to fill that void with a veteran free agent.

Move Zack Martin to tackle, either left or right if Terence Steele moves to the other side

This is honestly the least likely path forward that the Cowboys will consider, but it is one worth discussing nonetheless.

In true emergencies we have seen Zack Martin kick out from right guard to right tackle, but that is obviously a huge ask of him and something that he historically has not necessarily enjoyed doing. These are obviously some extenuating circumstances and he is the best offensive lineman on the team. He is certainly the player who we all likely trust the most to handle left tackle of all would-be options.

One way of going about this is to have Martin on the left side and Connor McGovern at the right guard spot. There is an argument that this is the best configuration you can make for the linemen as left to right it would be Zack Martin, Tyler Smith, Tyler Biadasz, Connor McGovern, and Terence Steele.

Speaking of Terence Steele, we have seen him fill in for Tyron Smith before. If we are expanding all of the realms of creativity then it is worth suggesting Steele at left tackle with Martin kicking out, but along the same side to right tackle. In this scenario McGovern would still be called upon to play right guard because of Martin moving over.

To be as blunt as possible none of these are desirable options at any point let alone with the regular season’s beginning arriving sooner than some cartons of milk will be expiring. It was in the effort of avoiding this exact last-second scurrying that the Cowboys are going to have to do why many of us pounded the table all offseason for the team to take the swing tackle position more seriously.

This problem wasn’t avoidable in the sense that it could have been prohibited, but the magnitude of the fallout could have been seriously mitigated with some proper attention delegated to the right places. The Cowboys felt like that was unnecessary and here we are.

It is still not too late for Dallas to make some not terrible lemonade out of these lemons, but they have to act quickly. The regular season is just about here and expectations around Mike McCarthy are as high and pressing as they have ever been.


How should the Cowboys replace the loss of Tyron Smith?

This poll is closed

  • 79%
    A free agent at left tackle
    (3786 votes)
  • 15%
    Tyler Smith at left tackle
    (739 votes)
  • 4%
    Zack Martin or Terence Steele at left tackle
    (230 votes)
4755 votes total Vote Now

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