Before free agency even began, the talk was that the Dallas Cowboys had a lot of work to do at the offensive line. Several positions throughout the OL were due for improvement and replacement. Now, a week after free agency started, there are gaps to fill. Guard Connor Williams (who we suspected wouldn’t be returning) signed with the Miami Dolphins on a two-year, $14 million deal and OT La’el Collins is reportedly heading to the Cincinnati Bengals on a three-year contract.
So, now what? Is the front office worried about these major gaps? According to Bobby Belt, a Cowboys insider for 105.3 The Fan, the Dallas execs are confident in Terence Steele (Collins’ former backup). In a radio segment, Belt went so far as to claim that the team didn’t view Collins’ exit as the release of a starter. Rather, they saw it as an opportunity for Steele to rightfully take his place at right tackle. Seems a bit far-fetched to me, but it’s nice to know that the team believes in Steele.
"“They don’t think their starting right tackle is gone. I mean, honestly. Dead serious. We can all roll our eyes at it. But to be fair, they feel like they got rid of a backup player. I’m telling you that is their perspective.”"
Belt went on to say that the team knows Amari Cooper was a lost starter and DeMarcus Lawrence would have been as well. But, Collins apparently paints a different picture. His co-host responded by saying Steele is just a “try-hard guy” and the team needs more than that. Belt retorted by saying that while he understands that Collins is better than Steele, the younger OL did improve and has a great work ethic. You can hear the full discussion in the video below.
Cowboys insider Bobby Belt said that the Cowboys don’t think they got rid of a starter by losing La’el Collins. The front office believes Terence Steele is a starter
Let’s get one thing straight. Collins is better. But Steele did improve and helped fill in for Collins during his suspension and injury situations last season. In the games where Steele only played right tackle (7), he allowed only two quarterback hits and zero sacks. Another important thing to note is that Steele finished with fewer penalties than Collins. Steele had eight penalties (Collins had 10) and he played 170 more snaps than the former Cowboy.
Another really important note is Steele’s durability. As we all know, Collins has missed a good chunk of his career due to injury. While Steele was a backup, he was able to remain on the field when needed. At just 24 years old, you can also assume that Steele can continue to grow and develop with many years ahead of him.
While arguing that the front office thinks losing Collins was no big deal seems a bit of a stretch, there is reason to have faith in Steele.