Do the Cowboys really have a need at the center position?

Tyler Biadasz, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Tyler Biadasz, Dallas Cowboys (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

For several years, the Dallas Cowboys had an offensive line that was the envy of the entire NFL. That after devoting three-first round selections between 2011-2014 to their O-Line.

Those three first-rounders would result in left tackle Tyron Smith, right guard Zack Martin, and center Travis Frederick. Together, they would combine for 18 Pro Bowl nominations and 13 All-Pro selections.

But this legendary trio lost Frederick in 2018 for the entire season due to the autoimmune disease, Guillain–Barré syndrome. And while the now 29-year old would return to Pro Bowl form the following season, it ended up being the final one of his professional career.

The sudden and surprising retirement of Frederick last March forced the Cowboys to try and find his potential long-term replacement in the 2020 NFL Draft. Dallas traded up into the fourth round to land Wisconsin center Tyler Biadasz.

The reigning Rimington Trophy winner as the nation’s top college center, the 23-year old Biadasz would start four games as a rookie last year and play 37% of the Cowboys’ offensive snaps. It was 30-year old veteran center Joe Looney who would start the other 12 games for Dallas.

With Looney scheduled to hit free agency later this month, Biadasz figures to be the favorite to become the permanent starter at center for the Cowboys in only his second NFL season. But has the young offensive lineman done enough to prove he’s ready for that role?

The good folks over at the football analytics site, Pro Football Focus, don’t seem to think so. In fact, PFF’s Seth Galina believes the Cowboys have a perfect free-agent match in former Green Bay Packers center Corey Linsley. Here’s Galina’s explanation as to why …

"“Both Joe Looney and Tyler Biadasz struggled at center for the Cowboys last season. And while Biadasz was just a rookie, the Cowboys could still look to upgrade the position. Linsley is a no-brainer here; he’s been one of the best centers in football over the past few seasons and then became the best center in football in 2020. He posted 80.0-plus grades as both a run-blocker and pass-blocker in 2020, the only center to do so.”"

Considering the dwindling salary cap in 2021, the fact the Cowboys have yet to sign their franchise quarterback in Dak Prescott, and the current state of the team’s lackluster defense; it would be hard to justify signing a costly free agent at the center position in Dallas. Especially given the fact estimates Linsley’s inflated market value at a whopping $9.7 million per season.

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A more likely option for the Dallas Cowboys would be to re-sign Joe Looney to a modest one-year deal which will allow Tyler Biadasz more time to develop into the starting role. That way any remaining monies left on the salary cap could instead be used to address their more pressing issues on the defensive side of the ball.