The Dallas Cowboys’ several positional problems, including those with their offensive line, once again came to the forefront during the 2021 NFL season. While PFF rated the Cowboys as the No. 1 offensive line to end the season, the main reason for their problems this year had to do with the number of unnecessary penalties drawn in every game.
Even though their drastic improvement in their protection of Dak Prescott and opening running lanes was much better than last year, the OL still caused problems. The main culprit was left guard Connor Williams who is set to hit free agency and is someone who the Cowboys could move on from this offseason.
Dallas does have some depth along the offensive line with the likes of offensive tackle Terence Steele and 2021 fourth-round draft pick Josh Ball (who was on injured reserve all of last season). They also have Connor McGovern and 2021 seventh-round pick Matt Farniok who both have the ability to play center and guard. The question still remains though, will the Cowboys look to add experience to their line or just look for depth in case of injuries?
I’m betting that America’s Team will be looking for veteran leadership to help protect and continue to help develop center Tyler Biadasz. Here are a few names that the Cowboys could look towards in free agency if they decide not to bring back Williams.
4 potential offensive linemen the Cowboys should take a look at in free agency
4. James Daniels, Chicago Bears
PFF Season Grade: 71.8
The Bears’ offensive line finished the season ranked 22nd in the league (according to PFF) and offensive guard James Daniels ended the year with a strong 71.8 grade, just below starting left tackle Jason Peters. We’ve seen in the past that the Cowboys like to find players at guard with the ability to slide over to center if needed, and Daniels has experience at both positions during his time with the Bears.
He has the ability to play both left and right guard as well and that versatility and ability to move him around could be a very enticing aspect to the Cowboys. This is why he is projected by many sites to get a pretty hefty contract in 2022. Hopefully, Dallas can afford what this big guy will be worth.
With 3,260 offensive snaps under his belt, he would also be bringing that veteran experience the Cowboys could be looking for. Another thing to like about Daniels would be his lack of offensive holding calls. In 2021 Daniels started all 17 games and had just two compared to Williams’ 11. Cutting down the penalties is a major necessity for Dallas next year.