It seems like we have questions about the Dallas Cowboys’ offensive line every offseason. There is nothing certain, but there is a general feeling in Cowboys media circles that the team is not planning an attempt to re-sign starting center Tyler Biadasz. While the coaching moves are sucking the air out of things, and other of their own free agents like Tyron Smith get more attention, this is still a significant hole the team has to fill. It may be something they might need to reconsider as well. Biadasz may not be a star at his job, but he has proven to be a legitimate NFL starter, and those don’t always come easily.
The main consideration is just how good he is. He does have one Pro Bowl selection on his résumé, but that was one of those alternate situations where a player or players ahead of him chose not to attend. More importantly, he was not often a clear liability except in games where the entire line seemed to struggle. A decision to look for another starter would likely be driven by a perception that he is at his ceiling. A strong line is the foundation of the offense. Should they move on, the options are to draft a rookie, dip into the outside free agent pool, or look to the players under contract.
The draft has long been the preferred path for roster building in Dallas. This would be a case where they are looking for a day one starter, and that could mean they would want to invest their first-round pick at 24 here. Based on the current draft boards at CBS Sports and Drafttek, there are two obvious candidates.
The first is Troy Fautanu from Washington. He played offensive tackle in college, but is projected as a player that is likely to be moved inside. He is rated as a legitimate late first-round talent. The Cowboys have had good success in moving tackles to the interior of the line, with Tyler Smith the most obvious recent example. He is very close to Biadasz’s size, so he fits the physical profile.
The other would quality as a minor reach, but Oregon’s Jackson Powers-Johnson is a true center. He is considered to be an early second-round value, and Dallas does not shy away from making that kind of pick if they think it is the player they need. His measurements are also nearly the same as Biadasz.
Of course, the Cowboys have a lot of other needs this year in the draft, so they might elect to go a different route. The leading internal candidate is Brock Hoffman, who got some playing time last season. The staff seems to think they have something in him, and that is more relevant on offense, where Mike McCarthy looks to be bringing back most of his staff. If they decide to ride with Hoffman, they might also take a center in a later round as insurance.
Outside free agency has long been the last option for Dallas. In addition to the tendency to bargain shop, they also face the challenge of this being a weak group in 2024. Biadasz makes some lists as in the bottom of the top ten. For once, not wanting to spend much in free agency makes some sense here. And should the well be looking to run dry for them, they might find themselves circling back around to Biadasz as the best remaining option.
This is just one of many puzzle pieces the team has to find in a year when the head coach is fighting for his job. Given his own offensive mindset, this will be one they should focus on fairly early, although the eventual attempt to solve this one may take a while.