Cowboys’ Tyron Smith replacement feels obvious (and it’d be a disaster)

Dallas Cowboys v Los Angeles Chargers
Dallas Cowboys v Los Angeles Chargers / Michael Owens/GettyImages

It's been a whirlwind last few days for the Dallas Cowboys. Fans have been hit with dagger after dagger since the team signed Eric Kendricks and re-signed Jourdan Lewis. While Michael Gallup's release and Leighton Vander Esch's retirement it hard, no spear caused a greater wound than the departure of left tackle Tyron Smith.

Smith has signed a one-year contract worth up to $20 million with the Jets. The deal includes just $6.5 million guaranteed, so fans are understandably frustrated that the Cowboys weren't willing to meet that price.

Even though it's time for Dallas to draft a left tackle and even if said tackle is a readymade prospect -- meaning he can start day one -- letting a franchise legend like Smith leave after his healthiest and best season in years is questionable roster management.

While the Cowboys are seemingly set at taking a tackle in the first round, they'd be smart to sign a veteran for experience and depth. There's still some compelling options braving the free agent waters, but there's one name that Dallas should avoid at all costs and he actually has ties to Smith's new team.

Cowboys must avoid signing Mekhi Becton in free agency to replace Tyron Smith

Mekhi Becton has the name value and draft status that would lead you to believe the Cowboys shouldn't think twice about signing him. He feels like exactly the type of low-risk free agent Dallas would be interested in now that established vets like Trent Brown, Jonah Williams and Jermaine Eluemunor have all signed.

However, Becton has battled knee injuries throughout his four-year career. He played 16 of a possible 17 games last season, but missed all of 2022 and played just one game in 2021.

Even though Becton's health improved in 2023, he was essentially a turnstile at left tackle. Among 55 tackles that played at least 700 snaps, Becton's 60.7 pass-blocking grade ranked 4th, per Pro Football Focus (subscription required). He also allowed the most sacks (12), sixth-most QB hits (8), fifth-most pressures (50) and ranked bottom six in pass-blocking efficiency.

Perhaps Becton was getting his legs back underneath him after essentially two years out of the league, but that's grasping at straws. The bottom line is those are hardly staring-caliber numbers, let alone enough to replace a living legend in Tyron Smith. Jets fans also don't speak highly of Becton's attitude, so that's another red flag that should dissuade Dallas.

Still just 24 years old, Becton has all the tools to be a high-end left tackle. He's 6-foot-7 and 363 pounds and was a blue-chip prospect coming out of Louisville. If signed, though, the Cowboys essentially would be hoping he recaptures his rookie form (which was genuinely good) while praying his knees don't betray him again.

It would have a greater chance of failing spectacularly than panning out. With Dallas primed to draft a tackle with the No. 24 overall pick anyway, they should consider other veteran options on the free agent market to help offset Smith's departure.

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