Matt Waletzko

Minor NFL Transactions: 10/22/22

Here are the league’s minor moves going into Week 7:

Atlanta Falcons

Baltimore Ravens

Carolina Panthers

Cincinnati Bengals

Dallas Cowboys

Detroit Lions

Indianapolis Colts

Kansas City Chiefs

Las Vegas Raiders

Los Angeles Chargers

Miami Dolphins

New York Giants

New York Jets

San Francisco 49ers

Seattle Seahawks

Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Tennessee Titans

Washington Commanders

Injury Updates: Cobb, Wilson, Waletzko, Leonard

The Packers and veteran wide receiver Randall Cobb were granted a silver-lining after hearing that what was feared to be a season-ending broken ankle was potentially a high ankle sprain that would require several weeks of recovery. The diagnosis of a high ankle sprain was confirmed, according to Rob Demovsky of ESPN, and Cobb told reporters that he “expects to return in two to six weeks,” a much more optimistic timeline than what was initially feared.

Green Bay had lost another veteran receiver when Sammy Watkins was placed on injured reserve back in September. Watkins was the team’s leading receiver at the time and now the Packers will lose their second-leading receiver as Cobb is being considered for an IR stint. With no Cobb and Watkins, and with rookie receiver Christian Watson also ailing, Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has only Allen Lazard, Romeo Doubs, Amari Rodgers, and Samori Toure as targets out wide. Head coach Matt LaFleur did express some optimism that Watkins could be working his way towards a return soon, though.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the league:

  • After he suffered a hamstring injury in their game against the Chargers, Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett announced that quarterback Russell Wilson will be a gametime decision this week against the Jets, according to Mike Klis of 9NEWS. The 11th-year veteran has struggled to lead Denver to the endzone this year but still represents the team’s best chance to win by far. If Wilson is unable to suit up this week, third-year backup Brett Rypien is the next name on the depth chart. Rypien has one start on his record from his rookie season. In his starting debut from 2020, Rypien led the Broncos to a win over the Jets, completing 19 of 31 attempted passes for 242 yards and two touchdowns while also throwing three interceptions.
  • The Cowboys lost rookie fifth-round pick Matt Waletzko after only three weeks as the backup offensive lineman’s lingering left shoulder issues continued to trouble him. Waletzko knew that surgery was an inevitable outcome but delayed the procedure in an attempt to become a contributor in his rookie season, but, after three subluxations, his first year will come to an end, according to Michael Gehlken of The Dallas Morning News. Waletzko had played in all of the team’s first three games, mostly serving on special teams units and earning one offensive snap in the team’s Week 3 win over the Giants. Dallas doesn’t have a ton of depth behind the starters on the offensive line, but backups Josh Ball, Jason Peters, and Matt Farniok provide some versatility that allow them to fill in most empty spots in the lineup.
  • Colts star linebacker Shaquille Leonard cleared concussion protocol today, according to Mike Chappell of FOX59/CBS4 Sports, but the team will still hold him out against the Titans this week. In addition to the concussion, Leonard is listed with a nose injury, which he recently had surgery on, according to Zak Keefer of The Athletic. Fourth-year linebacker E.J. Speed will continue to start in Leonard’s place as he works his way back to the field.

Cowboys Unlikely To Trade For Left Tackle?

The Cowboys have very limited time to find a Tyron Smith replacement, but a few avenues by which they could acquire one. Their financial situation could make a trade viable on paper, though it appears the team will look elsewhere while evaluating their options. 

Smith is expected to be sidelined until at least December due to an avulsion fracture of the knee and subsequent hamstring tear. Dallas doesn’t have a replacement on hand with anywhere near the pedigree of the eight-time Pro Bowler, of course, but promoting from within remains an immediate solution. Playing first-round rookie Tyler Smith at left tackle – his college position – is a possibility, though he was thought to be a guard candidate early in his career. Fellow rookie Matt Waletzko and 2021 fourth-rounder Josh Ball could also step in on the blindside.

Indeed, CBS Sports’ Josina Anderson reports that the Cowboys are turning to the aforementioned “in-house players” while also “working through” potential free agent additions (Twitter link). That is in line with reporting from yesterday indicating that a signing could be coming soon. A number of veterans remain on the open market, including Super Bowl champion Andrew Whitworth; Anderson adds, however, that the retired 40-year-old is not among Dallas’ considerations.

Adding further to the sense that the Cowboys will not be executing a trade for a stop-gap solution, Aaron Wilson of Pro Football Network tweets that the Texans are not expected to make Laremy Tunsil available to Dallas (or any other club). The two-time Pro Bowler has two years remaining on his contract, including a $17.7MM cap hit the Cowboys could absorb given their current financial situation. Beside his talent level, Wilson cites the dead cap charge (over 16.6MM) which would be generated by a trade as the reason such a move is unlikely on Houston’s end.

With final roster cuts just days away, more options could surface for the Cowboys to consider. A recent release, or an aging veteran still available remains the likeliest way the team augments its unproven stable of incumbents.

Cowboys Sign First-Round OL Tyler Smith

The Cowboys came to terms with first-round pick Tyler Smith on his four-year rookie contract Friday and are putting him to work at a new position, Ed Werder of ESPN.com tweets.

Smith lined up at left guard at Dallas’ rookie minicamp Friday, marking the first time he has played the guard position since his senior year of high school, Clarence Hill of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram relays. The Tulsa product played exclusively at left tackle in college.

Tackle-to-guard transitions are common in the NFL; Zack Martin made the move as a rookie in 2014. Like Smith, Martin did not make any starts at guard in college. The Cowboys are still planning on a Tyron Smith-to-Tyler Smith transition at left tackle someday, with Hill noting the younger Smith will receive left tackle reps this offseason. But for now, the first-rounder will vie to line up next to the perennial Pro Bowler up front.

The Cowboys let previous left guard Connor Williams defect to the Dolphins in free agency, pitting Tyler Smith against Connor McGovern. While Smith could make sense at right tackle, the Cowboys are high on frequent starter Terence Steele to take over for La’el Collins full-time at that spot.

Smith, who goes 6-foot-4 and 324 pounds, was the Golden Hurricane’s full-time starter at left tackle in 2020 and ’21. As the No. 24 overall pick, Smith will be tied to a fully guaranteed deal worth $13.38MM, Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News tweets. The Cowboys can keep Smith on that rookie contract through 2026, via the fifth-year option.

The Cowboys also signed fifth-round offensive lineman Matt Waletzko (North Dakota State), fifth-round cornerback DaRon Bland (Fresno State), fifth-round linebacker Damone Clark (LSU) and sixth-round linebacker Devin Harper (Oklahoma State)on Friday, The Athletic’s Jon Machota tweets.