Through the first week of NFL free agency, the Dallas Cowboys have been one of the most interesting teams to watch this offseason. However, that isn’t really due to their moves in free agency.
Sure, Dallas kept key contributors like Donovan Wilson and Leighton Vander Esch, in addition to adding outside help like Chuma Edoga. Where the Cowboys have really made headlines is on the trade market, acquiring both Stephon Gilmore and Brandin Cooks. By acquiring these two, the Cowboys have addressed two of their biggest needs at cornerback and wide receiver, and gave Trevon Diggs and Ceedee Lamb strong partners at their respective positions.
Still, Dallas’ roster still has room for improvement. There are a few positions where the Cowboys could use an upgrade, such as tight end and defensive tackle. That said, the position that stands out as their biggest need is offensive guard, and here’s why.
At first, this may seem like a very strange pick for the Cowboys’ biggest need. After all, they have Zack Martin, who’s a perennial All-Pro and the best offensive guard of the last decade. This need isn’t about him, though, but rather the other guards on the roster.
One of Dallas’ biggest losses this offseason was Connor McGovern, who started 15 games at left guard in 2022. McGovern was a solid lineman for the Cowboys, only allowing two sacks and taking one penalty all season. He received a big payday from the Buffalo Bills this offseason, departing from the team that drafted him.
With McGovern’s departure, the left guard spot looks very uncertain right now. The projected starter at that position, Isaac Alarcón, moved over to defensive tackle very recently. The next option would presumably be Edoga, but he has only started 13 games in his four-year career, including just one in the last two years, and is a natural tackle instead of a guard.
Even with McGovern, though, this offensive line still struggled in 2022. At just 53%, the Cowboys’ offensive line had the fifth-worst pass-block win rate in the entire league, per ESPN. The unit did perform much better in run-blocking, though, ranking seventh in the league with a 73% run-block win rate. Still, the pass-blocking must improve if Dallas wants to become a true Super Bowl contender.
However, filling that hole may be very difficult at this point in free agency. With the offensive line being such a valuable position, the best ones usually don’t stay on the market for very long. The Cowboys saw this firsthand when McGovern signed with Buffalo shortly after free agency opened. The only big-name guard left is Dalton Risner, but he would cost a pretty penny to sign.
What seems more likely is that Dallas will try to address this need through the NFL Draft in April. Some mock drafts have had the Cowboys taking an offensive lineman at No. 26 overall, with Florida’s O’Cyrus Torrence and Minnesota’s John Michael Schmitz being potential options along the interior. Even if they don’t take one in the first round, it seems very likely they will at some point in the draft.
With how much firepower Dallas has on offense, a hole this big upfront could be a major problem. They should do everything they can to address it before the season starts.
The roster-building portion of the NFL offseason is mostly over. Free agency is behind
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