Dallas Cowboys: Underrated free agent signing that could be key

Cameron Erving, Kansas City Chiefs (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)
Cameron Erving, Kansas City Chiefs (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images) /

The Dallas Cowboys made several big-name additions in free agency this offseason. But one underrated move could be key to finding success in 2020.

Anytime a high-profile team like the Dallas Cowboys signs a free agent coming off a Super Bowl victory, that news would normally dominate the headlines. But that wasn’t necessarily the case when the Cowboys signed Cameron Erving.

The former Kansas City Chiefs offensive lineman joined America’s Team to little fanfare. A first-round selection by the Cleveland Browns back in 2015, the team parted ways with Erving just two seasons later trading him to Kansas City for a mere fifth-round pick.

Although Erving did win a ring with the Chiefs last year, recording eight regular-season starts, he also scored a surprisingly low 44.8 overall score from Pro Football Focus. It was his lowest score issued by PFF since his rookie year.

Erving racked up 588 offensive snaps in 2019 and was on the field 56 percent of the time. But despite seeing significant playing time for the Chiefs on their historic championship run, his overall poor play led Kansas City to decline his option for 2020.

Erving inked a modest one-year, $2.5 million contract to join Dallas earlier this month. Here’s what former player, scout, and NFL media analyst Bucky Brooks wrote about what the 27-year old offensive lineman and what he brings to the table via DallasCowboys.com.

"“Erving gives the Cowboys a valuable sixth-man off the bench for the offensive line. The veteran has the capacity to play all five positions and his versatility will make him a key reserve on game day. Although there are some holes in Erving’s game, Mike McCarthy has a high-end backup on the bench for emergency situations.”"

The Cowboys parted ways with swing tackle Cameron Fleming in March, leading him to sign with the New York Giants the next day. The newest Cameron figures to fill that void in Dallas. But, according to Brooks, Erving is capable of being a stop-gap at all five positions along the offensive line.

That kind of versatility could very well be the key to success for the Cowboys in 2020. All-Pro center Travis Frederick surprisingly retired this offseason. And although Dallas has plenty of candidates to replace him, the quality of play we’ll see out of both the center and left guard positions is certainly suspect going into 2020.

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Throw in mounting injury concerns surrounding All-Pro left tackle Tyron Smith, who hasn’t played a full 16-game regular season in Dallas since 2015, and there are reasons to have an uneasiness about three of the Cowboys’ starting five offensive line positions heading into the new season.

A player with Cameron Erving’s positional-flex and experience should be a valuable plug-n-play piece at multiple spots for the Dallas Cowboys throughout the grueling year. The veteran might be able to provide some much-needed security at critical moments that could very well turn the tide of the season.