Tyler Smith

NFC East Notes: Peters, Cowboys, Smith, Commanders, Staff, Wentz, Eagles, Giants

Tyler Smith‘s transition from training camp left guard to September left tackle has changed the Cowboys‘ plans regarding Jason Peters. After viewing him as a swing tackle who could step in if Smith struggled, Peters worked at guard in his Dallas debut Monday. The plan is now for Peters to exclusively play guard, Doug Kyed of Pro Football Focus notes. Monday’s 14-snap guard cameo represented Peters’ first in-game foray at a non-left tackle spot in over a decade. The Cowboys limited Peters’ workload due to only four practices working at guard, Kyed adds. An uptick should be expected in Week 4. It will be interesting how the Cowboys use Peters when Connor McGovern returns from his high ankle sprain; McGovern has missed the past two weeks. The team’s approach with Tyron Smith now becomes more intriguing as well, with the All-Pro left tackle not ruled out for the season. But Tyler Smith, who has always been viewed as the Cowboys’ left tackle of the future, has seized the blindside gig.

Here is the latest from the NFC East:

  • The Eagles wrapped their Carson Wentz reunion with a nine-sack performance, shutting down the Commanders in a Week 3 rout. One of the reasons Wentz played just two seasons on his 2019 Philadelphia extension was his reluctance to play within the confines of Doug Pederson‘s system, Tim McManus of ESPN.com writes. Being stripped of in-game freedom irked the former No. 2 overall pick during his final Eagles season, McManus adds. Wentz audibles were an issue in Philly’s disastrous 2020 campaign, which saw him benched for second-round rookie Jalen Hurts. The Eagles, who traded Wentz to the Colts for first- and third-round picks, no longer have any dead money on their books from that transaction. Hurts will become extension-eligible in January; the Commanders remain committed to Wentz as their starter.
  • The Commanders are looking for a new COO. Greg Resh, who had worked in that role for just more than a year, left the organization recently, J.P. Finlay of NBC Sports Washington tweets. Resh left the team for a non-NFL job in Baltimore. This obviously comes at a rocky point for the franchise, which has seen owner Dan Snyder in Congress’ crosshairs. Resh is the 13th high-ranking Washington exec to leave the team over the past 18 months, Peter King of NBC Sports notes.
  • Former Buccaneers wide receiver/return specialist Cyril Grayson visited the Commanders, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets. The Bucs waived Grayson with an injury settlement earlier this month. A former sprint standout at LSU, Grayson has bounced around the NFL since 2017. The 28-year-old speedster caught 10 passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns last season.
  • Giants cornerback Rodarius Williams is eligible to return from IR next week. The 2021 sixth-round pick is recovering from knee surgery, according to The Athletic’s Dan Duggan (on Twitter). Williams dealt with a bone-spur issue during training camp, but Duggan adds he is moving well and could be ready to return in Week 5. The Giants would need to use one of their eight IR activations to bring Williams back.

Latest On Cowboys’ Offensive Line

The Cowboys are set to revisit their unfortunate lineup adjustment of 2020, when Dak Prescott missed much of the season. That year also involved both Dallas’ top tackles being out of the mix. With Prescott expected to be sidelined for several weeks and Tyron Smith out for months, the Cowboys’ 2022 situation is starting to look eerily similar to their 2020 setup — on offense, anyway.

But the team has higher-ceiling options up front this time around. First-round pick Tyler Smith made his debut at left tackle, and Pro Football Focus rated him just outside the top 40 at the position during his 69-snap debut. Smith still figures to move back to the guard spot at which he was initially pegged to begin the season. Jason Petersramp-up period might not last much longer.

[RELATED: Cowboys Won’t Place Prescott On IR]

It depends on his evolving with his conditioning. He didn’t have camp, but, boy, am I glad we got him,” Jerry Jones said of Peters, during an appearance on 105.3 The Fan’s Shan and RJ Show (via the Dallas Morning News). “We’ll have a spot for him. There’s no question that we’re going to be using him, before we’re out and maybe sooner rather than later.”

This puts to rest any concerns about Peters’ age (40) shutting down his viability as a Cowboys O-line option, and with Connor McGovern having suffered an injury in Week 1, the Cowboys need Peters ready ASAP. Peters remains on the team’s practice squad. That said, the Cowboys look to remain patient with Peters. His acclimation period is likely to continue into next week, Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News tweets. Peters has yet to go through team drills since joining the Cowboys.

As for McGovern, he suffered a high ankle sprain, according to ESPN.com’s Todd Archer (on Twitter). The Cowboys have declared McGovern, who played just seven snaps in Week 1, out for their Week 2 game against the Bengals.

Dallas added Peters not long after Tyron Smith‘s avulsion fracture. The longtime Eagles blocker is expected to replace Smith at left tackle, but Jones said Peters would also be an option on the right side. Terence Steele is viewed as a potential long-term starter at right tackle, where he has taken over for La’el Collins, who is now with Cincinnati. An O-line featuring Peters, Tyler Smith, center Tyler Biadasz, All-Pro right guard Zack Martin and Steele appears to be Dallas’ best bet for now, though it will be interesting how the team plays it when McGovern returns.

There’s a compatibility in play in staying at one spot, no matter how good a player you are. It lends itself to a better offensive line. But still I think we’ve done pretty good by having Peters come in there,” Jones said. “McGovern shouldn’t be long. He shouldn’t be out long, and we had a good job done by Smith, young Smith, and we got help on the way.”

This is McGovern’s contract year. He has bounced in and out of the Cowboys’ lineup since 2020, making 15 starts after missing his rookie year due to injury. The Cowboys could use McGovern as a swing player behind a Martin-Biadasz-Tyler Smith interior trio. Although the Penn State product was competing with Smith at left guard during training camp, it would be difficult to envision the Cowboys benching their first-round pick after already starting him. Peters’ form might dictate how the Cowboys proceed here as well. For now, the 19th-year veteran is tracking toward becoming a starter on a fourth NFL team.

NFC East Rumors: Rush, Smith, Golladay, Giants

The Cowboys were extremely relieved to see quarterback Dak Prescott return for a full season last year after only playing five games in 2020. Still, the 29-year-old’s prolonged absence two years ago instilled a sense of importance in the backup quarterback job for Dallas. This year, the No. 2 passer for the Cowboys will be Cooper Rush, according to Clarence Hill Jr. of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Dallas made a puzzling move by only leaving one quarterback on the team’s initial 53-man roster last Tuesday. When the Cowboys’ practice squad was announced the next day, it was seen that the other quarterbacks from the roster, Rush and Will Grier, were signed to the practice squad. As of the writing of this post, Rush remains a member of the practice squad.

Head coach Mike McCarthy is the person who broke the news to the media, so the Cowboys must have some intention of using Rush from the practice squad. Due to COVID-19, a rule was established allowing teams to promote practice squad players to the active roster for gamedays. Unless McCarthy and the Cowboys plan on elevating Rush to the active roster sometime before the season starts, they may just intend on fully dedicating one of the those weekly promotion spots to Rush or Grier to serve as a gameday backup.

Here are a few other rumors from around the NFC East, starting with another rumor from the Lone Star state:

  • We wrote recently about the recently extended timeline for the recovery of Cowboys offensive tackle Tyron Smith. With Smith sidelined, Dallas will turn to rookie first-round pick Tyler Smith to start at left tackle. Dallas drafted the younger Smith to start alongside the older Smith on the offensive line, but owner/president/general manager Jerry Jones seems content with the current situation, according to Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News. “Do I wish we had Tyron?” Jones posed to the media. “Yes. Will we get Tyron back? Likely. But, in the meantime, (Tyler is) going to come in and get a Harvard Doctor’s degree in playing left tackle between now and then. Will we pay some price with it? Yes. Can we win with him paying the price? I think so, yes.”
  • While talking to the media on Friday, Giants general manager Joe Schoen revealed a tidbit about wide receiver Kenny Golladay. Golladay apparently missed most of the spring after undergoing a “procedure,” according to Dan Duggan of The Athletic. Golladay didn’t ever provide any specifics about a procedure and was a full participant through camp, so, whatever the procedure was, it must’ve been minor.
  • New York was looking to bring back a former player in their scouting department this offseason in Chris Snee, but it appears that he will be working elsewhere this season, according to Duggan. When Snee was with New York, he served as an All-Pro guard and won a Super Bowl. Instead of joining the staff in New York, Snee accepted a role at his alma mater as an analyst for Boston College.

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.

Latest On Tyron Smith, Cowboys’ Offensive Line

The sentiment regarding Cowboys left tackle Tyron Smith was altered from optimistic immediately following his injury sustained last night to crippling once it was learned hours later that he had suffered a torn hamstring. More has come out today regarding his recovery plan, and the options Dallas now has to weigh. 

Smith will undergo surgery tomorrow, reports ESPN’s Todd Archer (Twitter link). As had been thought, the timeline to recover from the procedure will keep him sidelined until at least December. That represents, of course, a major blow to Dallas’ offensive line, but leaves open the possibility that the 31-year-old could return in time for the postseason.

Smith’s absence leaves plenty of question marks throughout the o-line. Projected starting left guard Connor McGovern – who head coach Mike McCarthy indicated is still ahead of first-round rookie Tyler Smith – was scheduled to start at center during the Cowboys’ preseason finale. “Connor also has value at other positions, which I value a lot,” McCarthy added, via the team’s website, referring to his ability to play as a jumbo tight end or fullback as well.

With Tyron Smith on the shelf for the foreseeable future, though, Tyler Smith may be needed at either tackle or guard earlier than the team envisioned. The latter is dealing with a minor ankle injury, though owner Jerry Jones indicated that he is not concerned about his Week 1 availability. Missing the team’s final preseason game, though, would be significant given the shuffling now required amongst the starters.

In the aftermath of Smith’s diagnosis, Jones said that the front office is “giving thought” to the idea of adding a veteran blindside protector in free agency (Twitter link via Archer). On that point, Archer’s colleague Ed Werner tweets that Eric Fisher “wants to play this season” and has already received offers from nine teams. The former No. 1 pick is being “selective,” as evidenced by the fact he has still not signed despite widespread interest. Fisher played 15 games for the Colts last season, after his eight-year Chiefs tenure ended with a torn Achilles.

As noted by Jon Machota of The Athletic (subscription required), Dallas has internal options to consider, including swing tackle Josh Ball and fifth-round rookie Matt Waletzko. The Cowboys also have the third-most cap space in the league ($21.5MM), however, so signing someone like Fisher, Jason Peters or Daryl Williams would be feasible. The same could be true of a trade acquisition; Machota names former Patriots first-rounder Isaiah Wynn as a potential target.

Regardless of how they replace Smith, the Cowboys’ decisions along the o-line will go a long way in determining the offense’s effectiveness during a season once again filled with expectation.

Cowboys LT Tyron Smith Tears Hamstring

9:15am: NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweets that Smith’s injury is an avulsion fracture of the knee, similar to the one which ended Jets tackle Mekhi Becton‘s year. The required surgery will keep him out until at least December, though it remains in doubt if Smith plays at all in 2022.

1:03am: The Cowboys will be without their All-Pro left tackle for a lengthy stretch. Tyron Smith suffered a torn hamstring during the team’s Wednesday practice, Todd Archer and Adam Schefter of ESPN.com report.

Smith’s latest injury could sideline him for months. This will mark the second severe Smith injury in three seasons; he missed 14 games in 2020 due to a neck injury. This latest Smith health-related development is a massive blow to the Cowboys’ offense, which was already set to begin the season without key personnel. More tests are on tap Thursday.

Going into his 12th season as Dallas’ left tackle, Smith is on the back nine of what could well be a Hall of Fame career. The former first-round pick landed on the 2010s’ All-Decade team and has eight Pro Bowls and two first-team All-Pro nods on his resume. Following the 2020 neck injury, Smith returned to the Pro Bowl last season. But injuries have steadily dogged the veteran blocker. He has missed 32 games over the past six seasons, including six last year.

Dallas has Smith tied to the same contract he signed way back in 2014 — the oldest active NFL deal — but began preparing for the future this year. The team drafted Tulsa tackle Tyler Smith in Round 1. The younger Smith was expected to line up alongside the 31-year-old vet, competing for left guard duty. But a future move to left tackle — his college position — is in the cards. That future could begin early. Two seasons remain on Tyron Smith‘s 10-year deal.

Tyler Smith was not a lock to beat out veteran guard Connor McGovern for the left guard job, with Mike McCarthy indicating Wednesday that McGovern would win that job if the season started today. But Michael Gehlken of the Dallas Morning News notes the rookie made a strong case for the gig during Dallas’ second preseason game. Tyler Smith has also missed recent practice time with an ankle malady.

Eric Fisher resides as a tackle who could generate interest as a stopgap, if the Cowboys do not want to turn to their first-round rookie just yet. Fisher is a nine-year starter who spent 2021 as the Colts’ first-stringer. Jason Peters and Nate Solder are also unsigned. The former, despite turning 40 this year, said during the offseason he hoped to play this season.

The Cowboys are turning to 2020 starter Terence Steele at right tackle, where he will replace longtime starter La’el Collins. The team used a fifth-round pick on tackle Matt Waletzko and has second-year tackle Josh Ball in the picture as well. They also will begin the season without wideouts Michael Gallup and James Washington.

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.

Draft Rumors: Williams, Colts, Cardinals, Texans, Broncos

After breaking out in his lone Alabama season, Jameson Williams encountered a significant hurdle to close his junior year. The ACL tear Williams suffered in the national championship game damaged his pre-draft stock, but it appears to be rebounding. Williams is now expected to be taken in the top 10, Chris Mortensen of ESPN said recently (h/t Eliot Shorr-Parks of 94WIP.com; Twitter link). ESPN ranks Williams as its No. 4 wideout prospect, at No. 19 overall, behind ex-Ohio State teammates Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave and USC’s Drake London. When available in 2021, the slender Crimson Tide wideout showed game-breaking speed in a monster statistical season. The 6-foot-1 transfer get totaled 1,572 yards (19.9 per catch) and 15 touchdowns. That total surpasses other first-round Tide wideout draftees like Julio Jones, Jerry Jeudy and Jaylen Waddle‘s final-season production at the SEC powerhouse. ACL tears are obviously not the deterrents they once were, and teams eyeing Williams through a long-range lens would make sense.

Here is the latest from the draft:

  • In what would seemingly be a meet-and-greet, as opposed to something indicating a potential draft choice, the Colts scheduled a Malik Willis visit, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com notes (video link). Indianapolis traded its 2022 first-round pick to Philadelphia for Carson Wentz last year and acquired Matt Ryan to be its starter for at least the next two seasons. Willis would profile as a developmental prospect behind Ryan, but the Colts not having a pick until No. 42 makes a partnership unrealistic. The Liberty prospect has visited the Falcons and Panthers, and the Steelers have been linked to the Group of 5 passing prospect as well. The Colts could acquire another potential Ryan heir apparent in Round 2, but they make more sense as a QB suitor in 2023.
  • The Texans have another veteran stable of running backs, having added Marlon Mack to a group that includes Rex Burkhead and Royce Freeman, but the rebuilding team could use younger talent here. Iowa State’s Breece Hall is viewed by some as this draft’s top back, and he visited the Texans on Wednesday, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. After its two first-round picks, Houston holds the No. 37 overall selection. That would be the most logical window for Hall to become a Texan, barring a trade. The Bills, Commanders and Giants have also met with Hall.
  • Losing Chandler Jones in free agency after seeing J.J. Watt battle more major injury trouble, the Cardinals could use pass-rushing help. They met with a first-round talent recently, hosting Purdue defensive end George Karlaftis, Pelissero tweets. The 266-pound rusher did not post eye-popping stats (14 sacks in three seasons) but is viewed as a solid all-around prospect, whom NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah compares to fellow ex-Boilermaker Ryan Kerrigan.
  • Russell Wilson‘s Denver arrival ensured the Broncos do not hold a draft choice until No. 64, but they are meeting with a higher-end tackle prospect. Tulsa’s Tyler Smith visited the Broncos recently, Mike Klis of 9News tweets. The Broncos signed Billy Turner and Tom Compton; one is likely to become Denver’s 10th Week 1 right tackle in 10 years. But the team has long needed a young answer at this position. Smith rates as Jeremiah’s No. 41 overall prospect but sits 58th on ESPN’s big board.