As of Sunday, March 18th, the Dallas Cowboys are the only team in the NFL to have not signed an outside free agent. This is not something totally out of the ordinary, as the team has changed their free agent philosophy in recent years.
However, the Dallas Cowboys are rumored to be interested in a couple of free agents. Notably, the team is scheduled to meet with free agent offensive linemen Cameron Fleming and LaAdrian Waddle. Both are former New England Patriots who have experience playing right tackle in the NFL. If signed, either could push to start at right tackle, pushing incumbent offensive tackle La’el Collins back to left guard. That said, it is fair to wonder what the Cowboys’ plans are at left guard going into 2018.
Jonathan Cooper ended last season as the starting left guard for the Dallas Cowboys. Cooper is a former 1st-round draft pick, who was serviceable in his time at left guard last season. However, Cooper is now a free agent, and the team has yet to show interest in bringing the former top draft pick back into the fold. With All-Pro Zack Martin due for a contract extension at right guard, the Cowboys could look to go cheaper and younger at left guard in 2018.
Forecasting Possible Solutions:
One solution could present itself shortly. If Fleming or Waddle signs, the team could switch La’el Collins back to left guard in 2018. Collins would present the team with a serviceable guard, who could develop into a high-end contributor, while allowing Waddle or Fleming to start at their natural position at right tackle. While the team could look to bring back Jonathan Cooper, they might feel more inclined to find an upgrade at right tackle, allowing La’el Collins to fill the hole at left guard. This would be two birds with one stone solution.
The Dallas Cowboys will have ten draft selections in the upcoming NFL Draft. This year’s draft class is considered to be stronger at guard than tackle. The team could look to draft an interior offensive lineman, as a result. With the 19th overall pick, the team could be looking at an offensive lineman. Players such as Will Hernandez, Isaiah Wynn, and James Daniels could all be potential picks in the first round. Adding another top prospect to the team’s offensive line could return the unit back to one of the most feared in the league.
Dallas Cowboys Thinking:
While the team looks at free agent right tackles, their thinking may be more focused on left guard. If a free agent offensive tackle is signed, La’el Collins could switch back to left guard in 2018. Otherwise, the team is armed with draft picks to add a prospect on the offensive line. With a stronger draft class at guard, the team could look to draft an interior lineman to help fill the void left by Jonathan Cooper’s free agency.
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