Cowboys center Travis Frederick, who missed the entire 2018 season while dealing with Guillain–Barré syndrome before returning for the 2019 campaign, has announced his retirement from the NFL.
“ was a difficult year for me,” Frederick said in a statement released on Twitter. “Each day I faced a struggle: I could no longer perform at my highest level. Playing “well” is not what I expect of myself and is not what my teammates deserve.”
Selected by the Cowboys with the 31st overall pick in the 2013 draft, Frederick is arguably the greatest center of his generation. In his six healthy NFL seasons, Frederick started all 96 possible games, and routinely graded at the top of Pro Football Focus’ center rankings.
Still only 29 years old, Frederick was a key cog in a Dallas offensive line that was the NFL’s best for most of the 2010s. A five-time Pro Bowler (including in 2019), Frederick also earned a first-team All-Pro nod in 2016 and second-team berths in 2014 and 2015.
The loss of Frederick creates a massive hole in the middle of the Cowboys’ front five. Veteran Joe Looney, re-signed to a new contract last week, could take over at the pivot, as could 2019 third-rounder Connor McGovern. Alternatively, Dallas could look to the free agent market (where the options are slim), explore a trade for a center, or spend another draft pick on the position.
Clearly, Frederick’s long-term health is the most important factor in his hanging up his cleats, but his retirement will have an effect on the Cowboys’ salary cap. Dallas will incur a dead money charge of $11.04MM in 2020 due to Frederick’s retirement, while the move opens up just $935K in cap space.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.