The Dallas Cowboys vaunted offensive line struggled last season causing many to list it as free agency’s top objective. Here are the five best fits at left guard.
Inside at guard last season the Cowboys employed former first round draft pick, Jonathan Cooper to replace the Denver departed, Ronald Leary. While Cooper performed admirably, he didn’t solve their problems inside and looks to test free agency in March as an unrestricted free agent.
This essentially places the Cowboys in the same situation they were in last year as they look for both a capable swing tackle and a starting left guard. With so much money already dedicated to Tyron Smith, Zack Martin, and Travis Frederick the Cowboys can’t afford to break the bank.
The draft could provide the long-term answer at guard, but the Cowboys can’t rely on the draft to fill the need from Day 1. Because of this, expect Dallas to do what they always do and fill their needs with stop-gaps so they can focus on drafting the best players available come what late April in the draft.
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Here are the top 5 realistic free agent options at guard for the Dallas Cowboys:
Jack Mewhort, 27, G
Jack Mewhort from the Colts has been one of the best performing young guards in the NFL. The only problem is he’s not always performing. The former second round pick enters free agency with a lot of question marks surrounding him. Is he the dominant star he was the first two seasons of his career or is he the injury-riddled mess from the most recent two seasons. He might be the perfect player to sign on a “prove-it” deal.
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Matt Slauson, 32, G/C
Matt Slauson is a player also coming off a season-ending injury. The veteran linemen has played all three interior spots and should hit free agency with a good amount of value. His position flex and leadership (was a team captain for the Chargers) make him a great addition for the Cowboys.
Evan Smith, 31, G/C
Position flex is the name of the game and Evan Smith has it. Evan is an inexpensive player that could play either starting guard or serve as a swing interior lineman. Pro Football Focus rated him as the 29th guard in the NFL with run blocking as his primary strength.
Joe Berger, 36, G/C
The best days for Joe Berger are long gone but the 36-year old vet still has something to offer a team like the Cowboys. The former Pro Bowl center and guard isn’t as quick on his feet as he used to be but he’d reliable (1,259 snaps last season) and he’s effective (rated No. 25 by PFF).
Jahri Evans, 34, G
Like Berger, Evans is no longer the dominant force he once was, but for a team like the Cowboys, he may be the perfect Band-Aid. He’s not going to break the bank or prohibit the Cowboys from picking a guard high in the draft should someone like Will Hernandez or Isaiah Wynn fall to them.
The Dallas Cowboys can’t afford to sign the best guard in free agency but they can find the right guy for the money. Based on position-flex, cost, and ability these were my best free agent fits for the Cowboys.