The Dallas Cowboys’ left tackle position took a major hit early Thursday morning with news that eight-time Pro Bowler and futue Hall of Famer Tyron Smith suffered a torn hamstring in practice and will miss multiple months of action.
To say that this is devasting news for the Cowboys would be an understatement. Seeing Dak Prescott lose his franchise blindside protector mere weeks before Dallas opens its season against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is just brutal.
There’s a few internal options to replace Smith at left tackle. Dallas selected Tyler Smith in the first round of the 2022 NFL Draft. But he’s exclusively played left guard in practice and through two preseason games. Matt Waletzko was a fifth-round pick this past spring. He just recently returned to practice after dealing with a shoulder injury earlier in training camp. Selected in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft, Josh Ball is another option.
Even then, this leaves a major hole at one of the game’s most-important positions with Dallas looking to turn into a championship contender in 2022. Below, we look at three left tackle options for the Dallas Cowboys on the heels of the Tyron Smith injury news.
Dallas Cowboys go with next man up philosophy
Of the three players mentioned above, Ball was taking left tackle reps during training camp and the preseason when Smith wasn’t on the field. With that said, the former Marshall star did not play a single snap as a rookie last season.
Another realistic option for Dallas would be to have starting right tackle Terence Steele move to left tackle with Tyler Smith manning the other side. In this scenario, veteran Connor McGovern would start at left guard. He already seems to have overtaken Smith for that role during the summer.
Dallas Cowboys trade for Isaiah Wynn
We focused on the Cowboys as a possiblity when news broke earlier this week that the New England Patriots were fielding offers for their former first-round pick. Despite some injury issues of his own, Wynn has had success in the past. The 2018 first-round selection graded out as the 11th-best offensive tackle in the NFL back in 2020, per Pro Football Focus metrics.
The issue here are finances. Wynn is set to count $10.4 million against the cap in the final year of his rookie contract. Even after making multiple cost-cutting moves during the offseason, Dallas is a mere $4.64 million under the salary cap. It doesn’t have many options to create more room outside of restructuring Ezekiel Elliott’s contract. Unfortunately, that would lock Elliott up in Big D beyond the 2022 campaign with the Cowboys already looking to move off him.
‘Boys sign Eric Fisher
This seems to be the likeliest scenario. Dallas could add this two-time Pro Bowler to the mix on the relative cheap with the regular season approaching. Fisher has played left tackle for a vast majority of his career since the Kansas City Chiefs made him the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft.
Despite suffering a devastating injury of his own in the 2020 AFC Championship Game, Fisher was able to return to start 15 games for the Indianapolis Colts last season after being released by Kansas City. He’d be a play-and-play option for the Cowboys.