Wednesday, February 27, 2013
An O-line option for Dallas
By Tim Kavanagh
It's no secret that the Dallas Cowboys need to address their offensive line this offseason. Regardless of who winds up calling the plays, nothing is going to work on the ground or through the air if the same starting five return from 2012. The Cowboys are amongst the cap-strapped teams, however, so they're not going to be able to dole out the massive deal necessary to lure a top-flight free agent.
Before getting to a possible target for Dallas, here's Gary Horton of Scouts, Inc. with more on the team's need in the front five:
"The only player who they can count on right now in this unit is left tackle Tyron Smith. They can't open holes for the run or hold up in pass protection and the only reason Romo doesn't get sacked more is because of his mobility. In 2012 injuries were a huge problem at center, their free-agent guard acquisitions played poorly and RT Doug Free didn't come close to deserving his big salary. They could upgrade all three interior positions, and if Free is released they will need a starting RT. There is a lot of work to be done to fix this unit."
Yowza. Anyways, it's been suggested that Free could move inside to guard, but that seems like a serious miscast: Free has quick feet, but is lacking in strength. Expecting him to make an impact at guard is foolhardy given that reality. But there are some under-the-radar FAs that could help on the interior line, one of whom is Patriots OG Donald Thomas. Here's ESPN Insider's Field Yates with more:
Field YatesOffseason Playbook: Cowboys
"The salary-cap woes of the Cowboys are no secret, so don't count on Dallas making a string of splashy free-agent signings. What the team needs to do is target value signings, and Thomas, buried on the New England Patriots' depth chart at guard behind Logan Mankins and Dan Connolly, is a starting-level player who won't break the bank on the open market. The Cowboys could stand to upgrade at right guard in particular, where Mackenzy Bernadeau struggled in 2012. Thomas, a 27-year-old four-year veteran, is an effective run-blocker who also would improve the Cowboys' protection of Romo. He's a smart, developing interior linemen who also offers value as an emergency center."