Cowboys should sign recently-released NFC East rival to fortify offensive line

Washington Commanders v New York Giants
Washington Commanders v New York Giants / Jim McIsaac/GettyImages

The Dallas Cowboys have driven fans insane with their alignment of the offensive line during the offseason program.

It started out with Tyler Smith at left tackle and Tyron Smith at right tackle filling in for the injured Terence Steele, whom the team has speculated moving inside to guard once he's healthy following ACL surgery.

For starters, the elder Smith wasn't convincing in limited opportunities at right tackle last season, while there are serious reservations about kicking Steele inside as he develops into one of the game's most underrated RTs.

At minicamp, order was thankfully restored, as Tyron Smith moved back to his familiar left tackle position, while Tyler Smith was back at left guard. When everyone is healthy, this should be the way forward for the Cowboys.

Unfortunately, the OL is banged up right now and some of the lineups deployed at minicamp left something to be desired.

Signing a veteran for added insurance couldn't hurt, and recently-released Commanders guard Andrew Norwell fits that bill.

The Cowboys should sign former Commanders OL Andrew Norwell

Once upon a time, Norwell's five-year, $68.5 million contract with the Jaguars set the floor for Zack Martin's eventual extension with the Cowboys in 2018. Clearly the superior player, Martin inked a six-year, $84 million deal that made him the NFL's highest-paid guard at the time.

While Martin remains the game's best guard, Norwell is a fringe starter who'd be better served as a backup at this stage of his career. That being said, Norwell is still a serviceable player in the right situation. It didn't work out in Washington, but the entire Commanders offensive line was a disaster last year.

It stands to reason that a move to a more functional organization -- one where winning is the ultimate goal -- would benefit Norwell, who was the No. 2 ranked guard in run block grade on gap runs in 2022, per PFF's Marcus Mosher.

The 32-year-old Norwell was a turnstile in pass protection last year, but he's one season removed from producing a 73.5 pass-blocking grade from PFF. He's more reliable in the run game at this point in his career, but the notion that he's incapable on passing downs is misguided.

As of this writing, the Cowboys' top backup linemen include Chuma Edoga, who's played seven total games the last two seasons, Matt Waletzko, who missed nearly all of his rookie year with a shoulder injury, 2023 fifth-round pick Asim Richards, and Josh Ball, who played 41 snaps last year and has moved from tackle to guard as Dallas clearly wasn't pleased with his development on the outside.

At the end of the day, the Cowboys need more experience beyond their starting five, and Norwell has started 127 of 128 career games.

If Tyron Smith goes down again and Tyler Smith is forced to play left tackle, Dallas would have a career left guard to fill the gap at LG.

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