Dallas Cowboys: Top 4 free agent fits at swing tackle

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 3: San Diego Chargers players, from left Chris Hairston
DENVER, CO - JANUARY 3: San Diego Chargers players, from left Chris Hairston /

Depth at offensive tackle doomed the Dallas Cowboys offense and prioritized the position this offseason. Here are the four best free agent fits at offensive tackle for Dallas…

The Dallas Cowboys’ offensive line was a mess last season. And perhaps no other position hurt the offense more that of offensive tackle.

La’el Collins struggled initially in his transition to right tackle. But as the season progressed Collins started to grow, eventually becoming one the Cowboys’ best linemen. Unfortunately things didn’t go as well on the left side.

All-Pro left tackle, Tyron Smith, struggled to stay healthy and his injury replacements failed miserably in his stead. The Cowboys were exposed and exploited for their play on the edge and Dak Prescott and the passing game were forced to live with the consequences.

Because of this, finding a veteran backup tackle headlines many people’s free agent wish lists. Factor in the uncertain health and future of Tyron Smith, and the importance of addressing the position only grows.

While it would nice to bring in a proven premium free agent like Nate Soldier, it’s not economically feasible. The Cowboys need to find a thrifty but reliable veteran to fill the hole – if only for the short-term.  Think Byron Bell only with some talent.

Here are my top 4 free agent fits at offensive tackle:

Chris Hairston, 28, T

Chris Hairston is a very intriguing option. The 6’6” 330lbs seven-year vet is only 28-years old. The proven swing tackle is considered the best reserve on the market, yet a health issue may prevent him from resuming his career. If what’s being referred to as “blood clots” is resolved, Hairston is top on the list. But if not, he’s likely off the list entirely.

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Ty Nsekhe, 32, T

Ty is an underappreciated swing tackle for the Washington Redskins. Playing behind Trent Williams, he’s seen plenty of action and performed quite admirably. He’s a restricted free agent so it’s going to be harder to sign him than most, but he’s proven and he’s affordable so he’s worth looking into.

Garry Gilliam, 27, T

Speaking of restricted free agents signing with other teams – last season the Seahawks let Gilliam walk to San Fran when an offer came in too high. Now an unrestricted free agent, Gilliam will probably move on once again.

He’s not the most fiery player but he’s relatively talented and could be an able-bodied solution at swing tackle for the Cowboys.

LaAdrian Waddle, 26, T

The New England Patriots find themselves with three of their offensive tackles soon to be free agents. And knowing the Pats, they’ll probably let two or even all three walk. Waddle is  6’6” and 315lbs and has a good deal of experience protecting the right edge. He’s an up-and-comer that has his best football ahead of him. The only question is, will it be good enough. I seem to think so and he’d be well worth a modest multi-year deal to play swing in Dallas.

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The Dallas Cowboys need to upgrade at the swing tackle position and these are a handful of attractive options for them. They aren’t without flaws but that’s why they aren’t starters and that’s why they’re affordable.