Dallas Cowboys: Travis Frederick Retires – Replacement on Roster

Travis Frederick #72 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Travis Frederick #72 of the Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

Travis Frederick unexpectedly retired from football yesterday leaving a giant hole at center for the Dallas Cowboys. Luckily, his replacement is already on the roster

As if the early offseason wasn’t going bad enough, yesterday Cowboys Nation was backhanded with the news their All-Pro starting center, Travis Frederick, was retiring from professional football. This seemingly unexpected announcement sent shock-waves through the fanbase: What would the Dallas Cowboys do to overcome such a loss?

I have news for you: The Dallas Cowboys already have…

The Dallas Cowboys were prepared for this. They have been steadily injecting talent into their offensive line for years. They may not have known exactly how or when issues like Frederick’s retirement would manifest, but they knew it was a possibility and planned accordingly.

Offensive line is too important to the Dallas Cowboys for them to not cover themselves with viable depth. That’s why they drafted Connor Williams two years ago with their second pick. That’s why the drafted Connor McGovern last year with their second pick. And that’s why they re-signed Joe Looney last week at the dawn of free agency.

At the time of all of these roster moves, Dallas had considerably more pressing needs. But they saw value and they understood the importance of their offensive line so they made moves that seemed questionable at the time. And here we stand today, glad that they did.

The immediate replacement that comes to mind is Joe Looney. You’ll remember, Looney filled in nicely back in 2018 when “Fredbeard” was lost to that debilitating auto-immune disease known as Guillain-Barre syndrome. Looney wasn’t as good as Frederick, but then again, when Frederick returned in 2019, he wasn’t as good as his former self, either.

With Looney only under contract for one season, and his potential basically capped, the optimal solution becomes second-year player Connor McGovern. McGovern played an entire season of center at Penn State. He was drafted by Dallas last season to compete inside. Most of us thought that meant to push Connor Williams for his job at guard, but now it appears it’s to compete at center with Joe Looney.

Most of us don’t know what we have in McGovern since his injury basically ruined his rookie season. But looking at his draft profile we can see McGovern is the optimal solution. The 6-foot-5 310 lb big man looks like a road-grader but moves like a gazelle (ok I may be overselling him there but he is a very nimble and athletic linemen capable of handling the riggers of the center position).

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The biggest concern with McGovern is his ability to handle the mental side of the center position. It’s not that he’s not smart (he went to Penn State after all), it’s just that the center position takes time to learn and requires a lot – every single snap. Looney has been an understudy for quite a while. He doesn’t always make the right calls but he’s fairly reliable. Frederick always made the right calls and that’s going to be missed.

That’s what we have to hope Connor McGovern can become the starter at center in the not-too-distant future.

Replacing an All-Pro is never easy but given the Dallas Cowboys current options at center, they should consider themselves quite fortunate to be in the position they’re in.